Air Force Dominates Army in Service Academy Dual Meet
Jan. 31, 2009
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Claiming five of the six individual event titles, the Air Force men's gymnastics team easily defeated its service academy rival Army on Saturday, Jan. 31, in the Cadet West Gym. With a season-best score of 329.100, the Falcons topped the Black Knights (309.600) by a nearly 20 points.
Five different gymnasts accounted for first-place finishes, as the Falcons posted the seventh-best team score in Academy history. Air Force claimed at least two of the top three scores on every event, including the top four on the vault and parallel bars.
With a combined score of 60.950 on the vault, the Falcons set a new Academy record on that apparatus, besting the previous mark of 60.400 which was set twice last year. All five gymnasts that competed on that event contributed to the score, as each tallied a score ranked among the top-15 in the record book.
Freshman Joel Uptmor won the event with a score of 15.500 - a mark just .050 off of the Academy record he set last week. Sophomore Aaron Zaiser finished second with a career-best total of 15.400, while senior Josiah Loeser and sophomore Nash Mills finished third (15.050) and fourth (15.000), respectively. Loeser's mark matched a career-high, while Mills improved his personal-best score by over a point.
Mills, who won the all-around with a career-best total of 81.350, paced the Falcons to a top-four sweep on the parallel bars. With a personal-best score of 13.950, Mills won the event and highlighted an Air Force sweep of the top four positions. Zaiser finished second with a mark of 13.850, while freshman Jacob Houder placed third at 13.800. Loeser and sophomore Matthew Thorne rounded out the top four finishers, as they tied for fourth with matching marks of 13.400.
Air Force also claimed the top three spots on the still rings. Senior Jake Schonig won the event with a season-high 14.800, while Loeser and freshman Devin Menefee finished second (14.000) and third (13.600), respectively. Backed by Mills' fifth-place total of 13.300 and Uptmor's debut at 13.150, the Falcons accounted for five of the top six spots in the final standings.
In addition to his second-place finishes on the vault and parallel bars, Zaiser tallied the fifth-highest floor exercise score in Academy history to win that event by a wide margin. The sophomore scored a career-best 14.950 on the floor, distancing himself from Uptmor, the event runner-up, by .650.
Army's Jonathan Hoey won the high bar to halt the Falcons' perfect night, but Air Force still earned four of the top five marks on that event. At 13.100, Mills finished just .050 off the winning score to place second, while Houder claimed third with a 12.950. Wolford's 12.900 tied for fourth, as Uptmor posted a 12.500 for the event's fifth-highest score.
In the team stats, the Falcons bested their service academy counterparts on every event, including an impressive 6.25 margin of victory on the parallel bars. Tonight's win snapped the Black Knights' four match win streak over Air Force at the Academy.
Air Force and Army will meet again on Feb. 14, when they both programs join Navy for the annual All-Academy Championships in Portland, Ore. It will be the Falcons' second meeting of the season against both squads, as Air Force traveled to Navy on Jan. 24.