Jan. 14, 2012
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Highlighted by an impressive debut from several freshmen, the Air Force men's gymnastics team finished second at the Rocky Mountain Open on Saturday, Jan. 14. The Falcons tallied a total team score of 333.300 - a six-point improvement over last year's season-opening total - to collect its best team finish in recent history.
A pair of freshmen finished second to pace the Falcons in their respective events. Josh Ramos scored a 14.000 to finish second on the floor exercise, while classmate Greg Chaput scored a 14.400 to take second on the parallel bars. With his first collegiate performance, Chaput scored the ninth-best parallel bars score in program history. In addition to his runner-up finish on the floor, Ramos also paced the Falcons on the high bar with a fourth-place score of 13.900.
Senior Devin Menefee, the team's captain, tied for third on the still rings with a career-best performance of 15.400. That score is ranked eighth in the program's all-time record book.
Junior James Okamoto placed sixth on the pommel horse with a season-opening score of 13.600, while classmate Tory Brown and sophomore Ben Zaiser rounded out the team leaders with a tied for eighth on the vault with matching marks of 14.100.
Freshmen Nick Gaudlip and Skyler Awisus picked up top-five finishes in their collegiate debuts, as Gaudlip finished fifth on the floor exercise (13.800) and Awisus earned the same placement on the parallel bars (14.200).
Air Force claimed four of the top 10 places on both the still rings and parallel bars.
In addition to Menefee's third-place score on the rings, sophomore Tyler Huebner and freshman Gared Chapman finished seventh (14.800) and eighth (14.600), respectively, while Zaiser scored a 14.400 to place 10th. As a team, Air Force scored a 59.200 on the rings - the third-best score in program history.
The Falcons claimed two additional top-10 finishes, as Chapman scored a 14.000 to take 10th on the vault and Ritchie posted a 13.600 to earn the same placement on the high bar.
Oklahoma scored a 343.700 to win its 13th consecutive Rocky Mountain Open team title, while Air Force posted its best finish in recent history with a second-place score of 333.300. Nebraska placed third with a score of 331.300, while Arizona State and members from Washington's club team finished fourth (314.100) and fifth (248.100), respectively. Gymnasts from the U.S. Olympic Training Center also competed at the Rocky Mountain Open, but their scores did not count in the individual event standings.
The Sooners claimed a share of the six individual event titles and the all-around, picking up wins from Patrick Piscitelli (floor exercise, 14.300; vault, 15.000), Michael Reid (pommel horse, 14.400), Chris Stehl (still rings, 15.700; parallel bars, 14.500; all-around, 83.400) and Jake Dalton (high bar, 14.700). Nebraska's Eric Schryer tied with Stehl for first on the parallel bars. With his high bar victory, Dalton set a new Rocky Mountain Open record with 10 career titles.
The Falcons head out on the road next weekend, when they travel to Lincoln, Neb., for a second straight contest with former Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponent Nebraska on Sunday, Jan. 22. Action begins at 1 p.m., at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.