Falcons Place Third at USAG Collegiate Nationals
March 27, 2009
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The Air Force men's gymnastics team tallied its second-highest team score of the season to place third at the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships this evening (March 27) in Williamsburg, Va. The Falcons posted the highest team scores of the night on the still rings and vault to tally an overall score of 332.750.
The Falcons' team tally is the seventh-best total in Academy history.
Air Force was paced by impressive performances on the still rings, winning the event by nearly three points. All four scoring gymnasts accounted for career-best marks. Seniors Jake Schonig and Josiah Loeser finished first and second, respectively, guaranteeing the duo a place in tomorrow's event finals. Schonig matched his career high (and the second-best score in program history) at 15.650 to easily distance himself from the field, while Loeser upped his personal-best score to 14.900. Freshman Devin Menefee placed fifth with a score of 14.450, while sophomore Aaron Zaiser tied for 13th with a mark of 13.850.
The Falcons also earned a trio of top-six scores on the vault to lead the field on that event. Sophomore Nash Mills tied with Menefee for third on the apparatus with matching scores of 15.100, while Loeser tied for sixth with a tally of 14.900. Junior Brennan Wolford (14.450, tied for 17th) and freshman Joel Uptmor (14.250, tied for 22nd) also finished within the top half of the field of 47.
Zaiser finished second on the floor exercise (14.150), while freshman Jacob Houder matched his personal-best, Academy record-holding performance of 14.200 to place third on the pommel horse. Houder also paced the Falcons on the high bar, tying for fifth with a score of 13.800. Loeser was the top Air Force gymnast on the parallel bars, scoring a 13.300 to tie for 14th.
Host William and Mary won the "varsity" meet with a team score of 337.150, while Navy posted a score of 333.150 to edge the Falcons for second. Springfield (328.950) and MIT (313.300) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Arizona State won the four-team "club" division with an overall score of 320.350.
Air Force qualified eight gymnasts for tomorrow's event finals in five events. Zaiser and Uptmor will competed on the floor exercise, while Houder and junior Garrett Canter will participate on the pommel horse. Houder will also represent the Falcons in the high bar finals. Schonig, the defending USAG champion on the still rings, will look to retain his title, joining Loeser in the finals. Mills and Menefee qualified for the championship round on the vault.
The event finals of the USAG Collegiate begin at 5 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, March 28, at Kaplan Arena in Williamsburg, Va.