Jan. 30, 2011
LINCOLN, Neb. - Highlighted by a first-place finish on the vault from freshman Ben Zaiser, the No. 11 Air Force men's gymnastics team posted its highest score of the season (334.400) in a dual meet against No. 10 Nebraska (343.000) on Sunday, Jan. 30, in Lincoln, Neb. It is the second straight week that the Falcons have improved their season total by at least three points.
Zaiser posted a 15.600 to win the vault. That score, the Falcons' second-highest score of the season, is tied for the eighth-best vault in Academy history. Zasier was one of four Falcons to cross the 15-point mark on that apparatus, as senior Nash Mills and sophomore Tory Brown tallied matching marks of 15.200 and senior Aaron Zaiser added a score of 15.000.
Sophomore James Okamoto was the runner-up on the pommel horse, posting a season-best score of 14.600. That score, the best on the team to date, is the second-highest of Okamoto's career and the fifth-best total in program history. Freshman Patrick Duffy finished fourth on that event with a score of 13.650, while Mills finished fifth at 13.000.
Freshman Colton Wulf earned a second-place finish on the floor exercise, with a team-leading score of 14.650. The mark, just .100 off the event winner, is tied for the 10th-best score in program history. Brown and (Aaron) Zaiser tied for fifth with matching 13.950 scores.
The Falcons also claimed a pair of top-five finishes on the still rings and high bar. Senior Dan Klimkowski paced the team with a third-place score of 13.900 on the rings, while junior Devin Menefee and Mills tied for fourth with matching scores of 13.750. Mills also finished third on the high bar, with a season-best score of 14.100 - the Falcon's highest score to date on that event - and freshman Mac Ritchie finished fifth with a 13.450.
Air Force picked up two top-six finishes on the parallel bars, following strong performances from Wulf and senior Matt Thorne. In his first collegiate performance on that event, Wulf finished fifth with the team's highest score of the season at 13.900, while Thorne finished sixth with a season-high tally of 13.850. Wulf moved into the program record books on that event, as he posted the 15th-highest parallel bars score in Academy history.
Air Force returns to action on Thursday, Feb. 3, when Brown, Mills and Okamoto travel to Las Vegas, Nev., for the prestigious Winter Cup Challenge that will help determine the members of the senior national team. .