by Dave Smith
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
8/11/2015 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Last
year Technical Sergeant Paul McWhirter, audio engineer for the Air
Force Academy band, went into the Rocky Mountain State Games with no
expectation of winning. But he did, leading to an appearance in the 2015
State Games of America held in Lincoln, Neb. August 1-2.
McWhirter, after defending his championship in the shot-put event in the
30-39 age group at the 15th Rocky Mountain State Games the previous
weekend, placed second in the 35-39 age group at the national event with
a throw of 31' 9", besting his RMSG winning distance of 31' 2."
"I threw better at Nationals than at the Colorado State games," he said.
"I was in first going into the fourth round, but this guy got an
amazing throw on the last one." McWhirter's throw was a personal best
since he took up the event again a couple of years ago.
Overall he enjoyed the experience. The competitors were friendly and
encouraging to each other, even to the point of offering helpful tips
between rounds. He met the families of other athletes and made some new
friends through it all.
"It was nice. Yeah, it was competitive, but it was a good natured competition," he said.
For the Rocky Mountain State Games those competing in the shot put had
an open start, meaning they could come and make their throws any time
during the designated time frame. That meant people of varying ages
could end up throwing at the same time. At the National Games it was
conducted like a traditional event, something McWhirter appreciated.
"In the Colorado games you didn't get to throw against the guys you are
competing against," he explained. "It was nice at the nationals to get
to throw against the other guys."
Since McWhirter repeated his State Games win in 2015 he is eligible to
compete in the 2017 State Games of America, to be held in Michigan.
However the chance of him returning to the national stage is slim due to
his PCSing to Hawaii.
Team Pete was well represented on the medal stand at the RMSG as well.
Second Lt. Shawn Hansen, 21st Comptroller Squadron, financial services
flight commander, won the C division racquetball competition which was
his first competitive tournament in the sport. Joining him as a gold
medalist is Staff Sgt. Adam Porter, concert band operations manager for
the USAFA band. Porter won his first ever deadlift competition competing
in the 93 Kg Class, Masters 1a, Raw Division. Porter surpassed his goal
of a 900 pound total, lifting 931.5 pounds total, gaining a personal
best in the deadlift event with a 408 pound lift. Lt. Col. Kallie Quinn,
302 Airlift Wing inspector general finished third in her class in her
fourth RMSG triathlon.