Air Force Men's Gymnastics Season Preview
Jan. 5, 2007
Although there is just one senior on the 12-man roster, the 2007 Air Force men's gymnastics team is full of experienced underclassmen that look to make a name for themselves on a national level. Under the direction of second-year head coach Kip Simons, the Falcons prepare to face some of the nation's top teams during a season that will primarily take place away from the Academy.
Although there may just be one senior on the roster, Kurt Antonio (Rio Rancho, N.M.) has been an integral part of the Falcons' rotation during his first three years. A co-captain for the Falcons this season, Antonio has spent the past two seasons as an all-around competitor. Last season, he tallied some of the team's top scores on the floor exercise, still rings and vault.
With one of the largest classes on the roster, the junior class provides a wealth of experience and knowledge to the lineup.
Brian Boardman (
Fellow juniors Kevin Murphy (The Woodlands,
In addition to the returning trio, Greg Stine (
The Falcons' three returning sophomores all saw significant action in their first year with the program, including a spot in the lineup at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Chris Deans (
All three gymnasts repeatedly improved their personal-best marks over the course of the season.
The Falcons also welcome a quartet of newcomers to the roster this season. Sophomore Liam Taylor (
Canter and Wolford bring a strong Junior Olympic background to the Falcons. Canter was a five-time national qualifier, while Wolford, a USA Gymnastics Academic All-American first-team selection, was a four-time national qualifier.
The Falcons coaching staff will have a new look this season, as Simons added a pair of assistants to his staff. Olympian Brett McClure and former Air Force gymnast Lt. Col. Chuck Schweiss join the program as first-year assistant coaches. McClure was a member of the 2004 Olympic Team that won a silver medal in Athens, while Schweiss was a 1982 Academy grad and four-year letterwinner on the men's gymnastics team. Air Force will also receive assistance from Dave Mickelson, who is in his sixth season as a volunteer coach.
"I can't wait for our season to begin," Simons said. "I expect great things to happen for our guys. Our freshmen have come in and made an immediate impact on our program, while the upper classmen have matured into seasoned veterans."
The Falcons will be predominantly a road team this season, competing at the Academy only twice. As a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, Air Force will match up against several of the nation's top teams. Three of the league's programs are ranked amongst the top four in the nation*, including top-ranked
Air Force will open the 2007 campaign on Jan. 12-13, when it hosts the annual Rocky Mountain Open. The meet will feature
Just three meets into the season, Air Force closes out the home slate, hosting service academy rival Army (Feb. 3). The two teams join Navy on Feb. 17, for the annual Service Academy Classic in
Air Force remains in
The Falcons' post-season action begins Mar. 24-25 at the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Championships in
"This squad is comprised of hard working dedicated athletes that are driven to succeed both on and off the playing field," Simons continued. "With (assistant coaches) Brett and Col. Schweiss on board, we now have our program headed in the right direction."
* according to the GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll