Falcon Vision Interview with Coach Robinson
The 11th-ranked Air Force men's gymnastics team kicks off the 2018 season this weekend, when it hosts its annual Rocky Mountain Open on Saturday, Jan. 13. The Falcons will welcome four collegiate-level teams, one club and members from the U.S. Olympic Training Center to the Cadet West Gymnasium for the 6:00 p.m. (MT) match.
The Rocky Mountain Open, which has been held at the Academy for the last 37 years, is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m., inside the Cadet West Gymnasium. Tickets are $5 for all spectators and can be purchased at the entrance to the gym. Participants of this weekend's Junior RMO event will receive free admission with their club warm-up jacket or uniform. The meet will be streamed live on GoAirFalcons.com (a direct link is located on the team's schedule page).
LET'S MEET THE OPPONENTS
This is the first meet of the season for all five collegiate teams -- No. 3 Ohio State, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 11 Air Force, No. 15 Arizona State and No. 18 Washington. The Buckeyes, who finished second at the 2017 NCAA Championship meet and preseason favorites in the Big Ten, will be making their first trip to Colorado, while the other three squads are longtime participants of the Rocky Mountain Open. In addition to the visiting collegiate teams, the RMO rotation will include gymnasts from the 5280 Club in Denver and the OTC in Colorado Springs.
AIR FORCE AGAINST THE NCAA FIELD
Air Force is 1-8 all-time against Ohio State and 5-31 against Nebraska. The Falcons' only victory over the Buckeyes came in 1977, while Air Force last defeated the Huskers at the 2015 Rocky Mountain Open.
LOOKING BACK AT THE 2017 ROCKY MOUNTAIN OPEN
Oklahoma won its 18th-straight RMO title at last year's meet, scoring a 433.200 to defeat a field that included Air Force (407.350), the OU club team (375.850) and SC United (347.250). Air Force's Chase Cannon won the high bar, while Oklahoma gymnasts took first on the other five events (Todd Dowdy: floor exercise; Allan Bower: pommel horse, still rings; Matt Wenske: vault; Yul Moldauer: parallel bars) and the all-around (Bower).
FALCONS MATCH BEST PRESEASON RANKING
Air Force matched its highest preseason ranking in program history, as was selected 11th in the annual Preseason Coaches' Poll. It is the 10th-straight year that the Falcons have earned that preseason placement and received the highest ranking among the three service academies.
ON THE SIDELINES
Jeff Robinson is in his third 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 program in 2015, has been honored by USA Gymnastics six times during his tenure (four times as the USAG Assistant Coach of the Year and twice as the USAG Head Coach of the Year). He is joined in the gym by first-year assistant Dave Mickelson, who spent the past 16 seasons as a volunteer coach with the Falcons, and first-year assistant Levan Sisauri.
LEADING THE WAY
Fletcher Braunton and Jonathan Fornoff will serve as team captains for the 2018 season.
HOME SWEET HOME
Highlighted by the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Nationals and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, Air Force will compete at the Academy six times this season. Following the Rocky Mountain Open on Jan. 13, the Falcons will welcome Oklahoma (Jan. 20) and Minnesota (Feb. 3) to the Cadet West Gym during the regular season, before hosting the USAG Championships on March 30-31 and the MPSF Championships on April 7. In addition to it collegiate competition, Air Force will also host an intrasquad meet on Feb. 24.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW
Air Force welcomed eight freshmen to their roster for the 2018 season with the addition of Brandon Bzoskie, Ethan Esval, Scott McMurray, Logan Omer, Zach Polen, Allen Shadan, Frankie Valentin and Brian Waschak.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
Air Force remains at the Academy next weekend, when they host Oklahoma, winners of the last three NCAA titles, at 6:00 p.m., on Saturday, Jan. 20.