Jan. 10, 2013
The 11th-ranked Air Force men's gymnastics team opens the 2013 season on Saturday, Jan. 12, when it hosts the 32nd-annual Rocky Mountain Open at the Academy's Cadet West Gym. The Falcons will No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 9 Nebraska, as well as the Arizona State club team and gymnastics from the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
The Rocky Mountain Open, which has been held at the Academy every year since 1981, is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., with warm-ups beginning at 4 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for youth and can be purchased at the entrance to Cadet West Gym (admission is free for participants of the Junior Rocky Mountain Open). Air Force will open the meet on the floor exercise and continue in Olympic order. Nebraska will start on the pommel horse, while Oklahoma, Arizona State and the USOTC will begin on the still rings, vault and parallel bars, respectively.
IF YOU CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE MEET...
The Falcons will have live video streaming for the Rocky Mountain Open. The free video feed can be accessed by clicking on the camera icon on the schedule page of GoAirForceFalcons.com.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
This is the first meet of the season for all three varsity-level teams. Conference opponent Oklahoma, which has won the past 13 Rocky Mountain Open titles, enters the 2013 season ranked third in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll. Nebraska, in its second season as a member of the Big 10, is ranked ninth in the preseason poll.
LOOKING BACK AT THE 2012 ROCKY MOUNTAIN OPEN
Oklahoma won its 13th consecutive title at last season's meet, while the Falcons finished second for their best-ever finish. Oklahoma's Chris Stehl won the still rings and all-around, while tying for first on the parallel bars with Nebraska's Eric Schryer. The Sooners' Patrick Piscitelli won the floor exercise and vault, while teammates Michael Reid and Jake Dalton won the pommel horse and high bar, respectively. Air Force finished second in the five-team competition, marking its best-ever RMO finish and the program's first victory over Nebraska since 1969.
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)
DUO INVITED TO WINTER CUP CHALLENGE
Mac Ritchie and Gared Chapman were selected to compete at the prestigious Winter Cup Challenge, which will help determine the 2013 U.S. Men's Senior National Team. It is the fourth straight year that the Falcons have had multiple selections to the Winter Cup in Las Vegas.
FALCONS MATCH BEST PRESEASON RANKINGS
Air Force recorded its highest preseason ranking ever, when it was tabbed 11th in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll. It is the fifth 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 five occasions during the 2013 season. Following the season-opening Rocky Mountain Open on Jan. 12, the Falcons will host Army on Jan. 19. After spending eight weeks on the road, Air Force returns to the Academy for a pair of meets on March 14 (Temple) and March 16 (Washington). The Falcons will also host the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships for the third straight year on April 6.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW
Air Force added four talented freshmen - Denis Aurelius, Thomas Oweida, Zach Owen and Josh Pyne - to its roster for the 2013 season. The Falcons also welcome back Owen's older brother, Nick, who missed the 2012 season with a medical turnback while recovering from shoulder surgery.
STAYING CLOSE TO HOME
Air Force has one Colorado native on its roster in sophomore 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, is in his eighth season as head coach of the Air Force men's gymnastics team. He will be joined in the gym by third-year assistant coach Jeff Robinson and first-year assistant coach Josh Loeser.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
Air Force remains at the Academy next weekend to host service academy rival Army at 1 p.m., on Saturday, Jan. 19.