Jan. 9, 2014
The 11th-ranked Air Force men's gymnastics team opens the 2014 season this Saturday (Jan. 11), when it hosts the annual Rocky Mountain Open at the Academy's Cadet West Gym. The Falcons will host No. 2 Oklahoma and 10th-ranked Nebraska, as well as club teams from Arizona State (receiving votes) and Washington.
The Rocky Mountain Open, which has been held at the Academy every year since 1981, is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Tickets, which are $8 for adults and $3 for youth, can be purchased at the entrance to Cadet West Gym, beginning at 5 p.m. Cadets (with ID) and participants from the Junior Rocky Mountain Open (with club warm-up jacket) receive free admission. Live video streaming will be available for the meet through the Falcons' website.
`ROUND AND `ROUND WE GO
Air Force will open the meet on the floor exercise and continue in Olympic order. Oklahoma will begin on the pommel horse, while Washington, Arizona State and Nebraska will begin on the still rings, vault and parallel bars, respectively.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
This is the first meet of the season for all five teams. Conference opponent Oklahoma, which has won the last 14 RMO titles, enters the 2014 season ranked second in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll. Nebraska is ranked 10th in the poll, while Arizona State is receiving votes.
LOOKING BACK AT THE 2013 ROCKY MOUNTAIN OPEN
Oklahoma won its 14th consecutive title at last season's meet, while Nebraska and Air Force rounded out the top three. The Sooners' swept the collegiate titles, as Alex Robin (floor exercise, all-around), Sergey Resnick (pommel horse, parallel bars-tie), Michael Squires (still rings), Josh Yee (parallel bars-tie) and William Clement (high bar) won their respective events.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN OPEN RECORDS
Floor Exercise: 15.950 | Steven Legendre, Oklahoma | 2010
Pommel Horse: 15.200 | Alex Naddour, Oklahoma | 2010
Still Rings: 15.700 | Chris Stehl, Oklahoma | 2012
Vault: 15.000 | Patrick Piscitelli, Oklahoma | 2012
Parallel Bars: 15.100 | Jake Dalton, Oklahoma | 2011
High Bar: 14.800 | Jake Dalton, Oklahoma | 2010
All-Around: 89.400 | Steven Legendre, Oklahoma | 2009
FALCONS MATCH BEST PRESEASON RANKINGS
Air Force matched a program-best preseason ranking, when it was tabbed 11th in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll. It is the sixth straight year that the Falcons were listed among the nation's top teams, as well as receiving the highest ranking among the three service academies.
HOME SWEET HOME
Air Force will compete at home on four occasions during the 2014 season. Following the season-opening Rocky Mountain Open on Jan. 11, the Falcons will host Minnesota on Feb 8 during a double-dual with the Air Force women's gymnastics team. Air Force will close out the home stand with meets against Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 28 and March 2. Please note that due to construction, the final three meets of the season will be contested in the Center Gym.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW
Air Force added five talented freshmen - Chase Cannon, Aaron Nubine, Bradford Rupert, Chris Stephenson, Tim Wang - to its roster for the 2014 season. Stephenson earned a bronze medal on the floor exercise at the 2013 P&G Gymnastics Championships ... just one week after completing Basic Cadet Training ... while finishing eighth in the all-around.
STAYING CLOSE TO HOME
Air Force has one Colorado native on its roster in junior Nick Gaudlip, a 2011 graduate of Rampart High School in Colorado Springs.
ON THE SIDELINES
Olympian Kip Simons, a member of the USAG Hall of Fame's Class of 2010, is in his ninth season as head coach of the Air Force men's gymnastics team. He is joined in the gym by fourth-year assistant coach Jeff Robinson and second-year assistant coach Josh Loeser.
LEADING THE WAY
Senior Mac Ritchie was selected to serve as team captains for the 2014 squad.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
Air Force will head to Norman, Okla., for a rematch with the Sooners on Saturday, Jan. 18. It is the first of two straight road matches against Rocky Mountain Open opponents, as the Falcons will also take on Nebraska in Lincoln on Saturday, Jan. 25.