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Vance names top athletes

Vance Air Force Base, Okla. -- Capt Nathan Koran of the 32nd Flying Training Squadron and SSgt Sara Vallejo of 71st Operations Support Squadron have been named the Vance Air Force Base male and female athletes of the year for 2004.
The two were selected for the awards by the base sports council based on nomination packages submitted by squadron sports representatives.
"Team Vance is blessed with numerous talented athletes," said Brian Mittelstet, fitness center director, who oversees the program. "To be singled out for this recognition by their peers is a distinctive accomplishment,"
"Captain Koran is a terrific overall athlete both physically and mentally," said 32nd sports representative 1st Lt Zak Blom. "He is a constant motivator who can bring the best out in people and lead by example.
"He has that overall athleticism that allows him to step into any athletic competition and excel! This ability was demonstrated when he trained for a marathon in only two and a half months. He ran an exceptional time although he had never trained for a race or competed in racing before."
At base level, Captain Koran organized, coached and played for the Vance All-Star Basketball team in an exhibition with the Oklahoma Storm of the United States Basketball League and a fundraiser game against the Enid Fire Department.
In the intramural leagues, Captain Koran played leading roles for squadron teams that finished second in basketball, softball and flag football. He also coached the basketball team and played in the golf league.
The squadron instructor pilot of the month for May 2004 Captain Koran implemented the unit's physical training program, spending time to help members who struggle to achieve acceptable levels of fitness.
"I would like to thank Brian Mittelstet and Lt Col Roger Johnson (32nd FTS commander) for the opportunity to compete against elite competition throughout the nation. Hopefully I have been able to distinguish the 32nd and Vance AFB through my successes," said Captain Koran.
"Vance and the 32nd provide excellent opportunities for all to get out and enjoy friendly competition. The outstanding competition around the base allowed me to build good friendships with members of other squadrons."
"Sara Vallejo is an outstanding and talented athlete who excels in everything that she does," said TSgt Eduardo Lima, OSS sports representative. "She competed in numerous golf tournaments and was the number one pitcher for the squadron softball team."
Vallejo is also an avid runner who participated in several runs, both on-base and in the local community supporting charities. She is actively involved in the OSS Golf Fiasco which raised $1,500 for Angel Flight, a charity that gives medical flights to seriously ill patients.
On duty, Sergeant Vallejo is a watch supervisor at Vance AFB RAPCON, responsible for 55 military and civilian controllers in the fifth busiest radar approach in the Air Force.
"If the squadron needs something I know that I can always count on Sergeant Vallejo," Sergeant Lima said. "Her hard efforts earned her Watch Supervisor of the Quarter for July-September 2004."
"I was surprised by the selection," Vallejo said. "It's a huge honor and I owe a majority of the thanks to Sergeant Lima, who has been wonderful as a role model and mentor over the years."