The men's team had a successful season with the team going 8-5, claiming the title of Service Academy Champions and placing third at the 2000 USAG Championships. Head Coach Lou Burkel once again leads the men's team with assistant head coach Capt. Jim Miller and team captain C1C (senior) Andrew Fisher.
|C1C (Senior) Andrew Fisher, Air Force Men's Gymnastics team
Three critical injuries last year helped shape the outcome of what might have been a more successful season. C3C (sophomore) Justin Jones and Fisher suffered from wrist and arm injuries that could have been career ending. C2C (junior) Matthew Kenkel also suffered from a leg injury. All three gymnasts are returning this season and are expected to be at 100% by March.
Last Season's Team and Individual Highlights
Overall the 2000 season was a successful year for the Falcons men's team. Air Force had seven NCAA qualifiers with five of those qualifiers returning this season- C1Cs Schan Daniel, Andrew Fisher, and Levi Torkelson and C2Cs James Hayes and Scott Lewis. The goal for 2001 is to qualify the team to the NCAA Championships for the first time since the 1970s. The Falcons also had nine USAG All Americans last season with Torkelson for all around, floor exercise, pommel horse, and parallel bars and Hayes for parallel bars.
Last year's team records include 38.05 on pommel horse, 37.75 on rings, and 37.70 on vault. This year's forecast concerning team records doesn't have the Falcons setting any new records because of the new international rules, which are extremely difficult. The team's score is expected to be 10-15 points lower in 2001.
Individual records set last season by returning gymnasts were Fisher with a 9.80 on vault and Torkelson with a 9.55 on parallel bars. Newcomer Aaron Jackson had a great year and worked five events at the end of the season. The prediction this year is for Jackson to be a solid all arounder. Lewis earned the honor of having been the most improved gymnast last season. Air Force also boasted three academic all Americans with Hayes, Lewis and Jones.
The men's team has a total of 11 team members returning for the 2001 season, with four seniors: Schan Daniel competing on floor exercise, pommel horse, vault, parallel bars, and high bar; Andrew Fisher (team captain) competing all around; Devin Ryan competing in floor exercise, pommel horse, parallel bars, and high bar; and Levi Torkelson competing all around. The four juniors returning are: James Hayes competing all around; Matthew Kenkel competing all around; Scott Lewis competing on pommel horse, rings, parallel bars, and high bar; and Stephen Sistare competing on floor exercise, rings, and vault. The three returning sophomores are: William Hermann competing all around; Aaron Jackson competing all around; Justin Jones on floor exercise, rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar. The five freshmen joining the squad are: Julian Benton competing on floor exercise, rings, and vault; Michael Berry competing on floor exercise, rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar; Matthew Joseph competing on floor exercise, rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar; William Murphy competing on rings; Noah Rich competing on floor exercise, rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar. Berry is the most likely to break into the starting lineup, although Joseph and Rich could also make an impact as the season progresses.