Jan. 8, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Two members of the Air Force men's gymnastics team were selected to compete at the prestigious Winter Cup Challenge, USA Gymnastics recently announced. Junior Mac Ritchie and sophomore Gared Chapman will be making their first appearance as Air Force representatives at Winter Cup, which will determine the 2013 U.S. Men's Senior National Team.
The annual Winter Cup Challenge will be held Feb. 7-9 at the Las Vegas (Nev.) Sports Center. Included in the competitive field are four members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, three Olympic alternates and 18 members of the U.S. Senior and Junior National Teams. A total of 45 gymnasts from 13 colleges, including Ritchie and Chapman, are also scheduled to compete.
It is the fourth straight year that multiple Air Force gymnasts have been selected to the national meet. Ritchie will compete on the still rings, parallel bars and high bar, while Chapman will participate on the floor exercise, still rings and vault.
"It's a tremendous honor to be selected to the Winter Cup Challenge," head coach Kip Simons said. "Mac and Gared have earned their spot in the competition and will represent the Air Force Academy with pride."
Ritchie is coming off of a stellar sophomore season that saw him match the Academy record of 14.900 on the high bar, while securing his first USAG national title. Chapman returns to the gym after a strong freshman campaign that included a runner-up finish on the still rings at the USAG National Championships and incursions to the program's top-15 scoring list on the rings and vault.
Performances from this year's meet will help determine the 15 gymnasts who will comprise the U.S. Men's Senior National Team through the 2013 U.S. Gymnastics Championships in August. The preliminary round of competition will take place during three sessions on Thursday, Feb. 7, while the top gymnasts (based on the point ranking system of the Men's Program Committee) will advance to the finals on Saturday, Feb. 9.
Air Force, ranked 11th in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll, opens the 2013 season this Saturday (Jan. 12), when it hosts the 32nd-annual Rocky Mountain Open at the Cadet West Gym.