The 11th-ranked Air Force men's gymnastics team kicks off the 2017 season this weekend, when it hosts the annual Rocky Mountain Open on Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Academy. The Falcons will welcome top-ranked Oklahoma, No. 20 SC United and the OU club team to the Cadet Center Gym.
The Rocky Mountain Open, which has been held at the Academy for the last 36 years, is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m., inside Cadet Center Gym. Tickets, $8 for adults and $5 for youth (3-15), can be purchased at the entrance to the gym. Cadets (with ID) and participants from the Junior Rocky Mountain Open (with club warm-up jacket or uniform) will receive free admission. Due to the move into Center Gym, the meet will not be streamed.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
This is the first meet of the season for all teams. Oklahoma, winners of the last two NCAA team titles, enters the 2017 season with 17 of 19 first-place votes and a No. 1 ranking in the Preseason Coaches' Poll. SC United, in its third season as a club program for collegiate gymnasts in Southern California, also earned a mention in the preseason poll, as it is ranked 20th in the standings.
LOOKING BACK ON THE 2016 ROCKY MOUNTAIN OPEN
With a score of 448.550, Oklahoma won its 17th consecutive RMO title at last season's meet, while Air Force (424.700) and Nebraska (420.300) rounded out the varsity field. The Sooners claimed all six event titles, as Colin VanWicklen (floor exercise), Sergey Resnick (pommel horse), Thao Hoang (still rings), Hunter Justus (vault), Yul Moldauer (parallel bars) and Josh Yee (high bar) won their respective events. In addition to his win on the parallel bars, Moldauer also won the all-around.
FALCONS MATCH BEST PRESEASON RANKINGS
Air Force matched its highest preseason ranking in program history, as it was selected 11th in the annual Preseason Coaches' Poll. It is the ninth straight year that the Falcons were listed among the nation's top teams and received the highest ranking among the three service academies.
ON THE SIDELINES
Jeff Robinson is in his second season as the head coach of the Air Force men's gymnastics team. Robinson, who spent five seasons as an assistant coach with the Falcons' program prior to accepting the head coaching position in 2015, has been honored by USA Gymnastics five times during his tenure (four times as the USAG Assistant Coach of the Year and once as the USAG Head Coach of the Year). He is joined in the gym by a pair of former Air Force gymnasts -- fifth-year assistant Josh Loeser (a three-time USAG Assistant Coach of the Year) and second-year assistant Capt Josiah Loeser (the USAG Assistant Coach of the Year in 2016).
HOME SWEET HOME
Air Force will compete at the Academy four times this season. Following the Rocky Mountain Open on Jan. 14, the Falcons will welcome Army West Point (Jan. 28), Stanford (Feb. 4) and Navy (March 18) to Colorado. While the annual RMO will be located in the Center Gym this year, the remaining dual meets will be held in the Falcons' home facility -- Cadet West Gym.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
Air Force will travel to Minneapolis, Minn., next Saturday (Jan. 21), for a dual meet with the Golden Gophers at 2:30 p.m. (CT), inside the Sports Pavilion.