March 29, 2013
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The No. 11 Air Force men's gymnastics team captured its fourth consecutive USAG national team title during the opening night of competition (March 29) at the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships in Williamsburg, Va.
The Falcons scored a 420.850 to edge host and 12th-ranked William & Mary (419.100, second) and claim the fourth USAG Varsity title in program history. No. 16 Navy took third with a score of 404.600, while 17th-ranked Springfield finished fourth with a total of 401.850. In the Club division, Arizona State won its 15th title in 16 years with 407.550 points, easily defeating Washington (358.800) and Brockport (320.550).
Junior Mac Ritchie tallied an Academy-record 15.100 on the high bar, pacing the Falcons to four of the top-six scores and a program-best team mark of 72.550. Sophomore Nick Gaudlip and senior Tory Brown finished second (14.700) and third (14.600), respectively, while freshman Denis Aurelius tied for sixth with a mark of 14.150.
Ritchie was one of three Falcons to claim first-place scores during the individual event preliminaries of the USAG Championships. Junior Nick Owen took first on the pommel horse (14.550), while sophomore Gared Chapman claimed the top score on the vault with a mark of 14.750. Chapman paced Air Force to four of the top-eight marks on the vault, as Brown and Aurelius tied for third (14.500) and junior Ben Zaiser tied for eighth (14.300). Owen also guided the Falcons to three finishes within the top 10, as sophomore Greg Chaput and junior Patrick Duffy finished sixth (13.800) and 10th (13.600), respectively.
Chapman and Ritchie also helped the Falcons to four of the top eight scores on the still rings, as Chapman finished second (15.100) and Ritchie placed eighth (14.300). The pair bookended a third-place finish from sophomore Jon Spiro (14.700) and a sixth-place tie from junior Tyler Huebner (14.400). Chapman also led Air Force on the floor exercise, as he and Aurelius finished seventh (13.900) and eighth (13.850), respectively.
Rounding out the Falcons' top-10 event finishers were Gaudlip and Chaput, who finished third (14.350) and fifth (14.050), respectively, on the parallel bars.
The Falcons return to action tomorrow (March 30) for the individual event finals of the USAG Championships. The top eight finishers from each event (with no more than two from each school) will begin competition at 2 p.m. (EST) at Kaplan Arena.