Jan. 13, 2011
The 13th-ranked Air Force men's gymnastics team opens the 2011 season on Saturday, Jan. 15, when it hosts the annual Rocky Mountain Open at the Academy's Cadet West Gym. The meet will feature conference opponents, No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 9 Nebraska, as well the Arizona State club team and members of the U.S. Olympic Training Center team.
Meet Notes 01: Rocky Mountain Open
The Rocky Mountain Open, which has been held at the Academy every year since 1981, is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., at the Academy's Cadet West Gym. Air Force will open the meet on the floor exercise, while Arizona State starts on the pommel horse. Oklahoma and Nebraska will start on the still rings and vault, respectively, while the Olympic Training Center members will start on the parallel bars.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
This is the first meet of the season for all three varsity programs. Oklahoma, which has won the past 11 RMO titles, enters the 2011 season ranked third in the Preseason Coaches' Poll.
LOOKING BACK AT THE 2010 ROCKY MOUNTAIN OPEN
Oklahoma won its 11th consecutive team title in 2010, taking five of the six event titles and the all-around. The Sooners' Jake Dalton won the all-around, behind first-place finishes on the vault, parallel bars and high bar. Fellow OU gymnast Steven Legendre won his third straight title on the floor exercise, while teammate Alex Naddour won the pommel horse. Nebraska's Anthony Ingrelli placed first on the still rings.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN OPEN RECORDS
Floor Exercise: 15.950, Steven Legendre, Oklahoma (2010)
Pommel Horse: 15.200, Alex Naddour, Oklahoma (2010)
Still Rings: 15.300, Ian Jackson, Oklahoma (2009)
Vault: 16.250, Jake Dalton, Oklahoma (2010)
Parallel Bars: 14.950, Steven Legendre, Oklahoma (2009)
High Bar: 14.800, Jake Dalton, Oklahoma (2010)
All-Around: 89.400, Steven Legendre, Oklahoma (2009)
HOME SWEET HOME
Air Force will compete at home on four occasions this season. Following the season-opening Rocky Mountain Open on Jan. 15, the Falcons will stay at the Academy for a showdown with service academy rival Army on Jan. 22. Air Force will also compete at home on March 20, against Washington, and April 2, when it hosts the 2011 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships.
FALCONS MATCH BEST PRESEASON RANKING
Air Force was tabbed 13th in the College Gymnastics Association Preseason Coaches' Poll - matching its highest ranking ever. It is the third 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.
WHAT I DID OVER MY SUMMER VACATION
Colton Wulf had a busy summer. Immediately following six weeks of Basic Cadet Training, Wulf became the first-ever Air Force gymnast to compete at the Visa National Championships. The freshman finished 16th in the all-around at the Junior Division of the national championship meet, highlighted by a seventh-place finish on the still rings.
A HALL OF FAME COACH
Head coach Kip Simons, a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Men's Gymnastics Team, was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame on Aug. 13. He was one of six inductees into the prestigious Hall of Fame, joined by Wendy Bruce, Kevin Mazeika, Dominique Moceanu, Robert Null and Jennifer Parilla.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW
Air Force added six talented freshmen to its roster for the 2011 season. Kyle Baker, Patrick Duffy, Tyler Huebner, Mac Ritchie, Colton Wulf and Ben Zaiser are the newest members of the program.
ON THE SIDELINES
Kip Simons is entering his sixth season as head coach of the Air Force men's gymnastics team. He will be joined in 2011 by third-year assistant coach Chuck Schweiss and first-year assistant coach Jeff Robinson. Robinson joined the program in September, bringing over 30 years of gymnastics experience to the Falcons' program.
LEADING THE WAY
Senior and USAG all-around and parallel bar champion Nash Mills will serve as the captain for the 2011 Falcons. It is the first time since 2006 - and only the second time since 2003 - that one gymnast has served as team captain.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
Air Force remains at the Academy on Saturday, Jan. 22, when it hosts service academy rival Army at 1 p.m. The meet will run in conjunction with the women's home opener against Seattle-Pacific. It will be the program's first-ever double-dual meet. Action for both squads is slated to begin at 1 p.m., at the Cadet West Gym.