Three Air Force Gymnasts Invited to Compete at the Winter Cup Challenge
Jan. 18, 2011
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Three members of the Air Force men's gymnastics team were selected to compete at the prestigious Winter Cup Challenge in early February, USA Gymnastics announced this week. Senior Nash Mills and sophomore Tory Brown will compete at the national meet for the second straight year, while sophomore James Okamoto will be making his first appearance.
It is the second straight year that three Air Force gymnasts have been selected to the Winter Cup Challenge, with Mills and Brown becoming the first Falcons to compete at the meet in multiple years. Air Force is the only service academy to have gymnasts invited to the Winter Cup.
Over 120 gymnasts were selected to compete at the two-day meet, which will be held Feb. 3-5 in Las Vegas, Nev., at the Las Vegas Sports Center. Included in that total are all seven members of the 2010 World Championships Team, four Olympians and 29 members of the junior and senior national teams.
"I am thrilled to again have three athletes competing in this year's Winter Cup," head coach Kip Simons said. "I'm confident that these outstanding athletes will represent the Academy's level of excellence at this prestigious national meet. Having my athletes on the competition floor with world champions and Olympians will provide them with the experience necessary to take our program to the next level."
Mills is coming off of a stellar junior season, which saw him win two national titles at the USAG Collegiate Championships and advance to the NCAA Championships in the all-around. Brown, who was the Falcons' top finisher at the 2010 Winter Cup Challenge with an eighth-place preliminary finish on the vault, competed in five meets as a freshman, including the USAG and MPSF Championships. Okamoto, the 2010 Freshman of the Year and USAG All-American on the pommel horse, is coming off of a first-place finish on that event at the season-opening Rocky Mountain Open last Saturday.
Performances from this year's meet will determine the 15 gymnasts who will comprise the U.S. Men's Senior National Team through the 2011 Visa Championships in August.
The preliminary round of competition will take place during three sessions on Thursday, Feb. 3, while the top 42 gymnasts (based on the Men's Program Committee's points ranking system) and top three gymnasts on each apparatus, will advance to the finals on Saturday, Feb. 5.
Air Force hosts service academy rival Army this Saturday (Jan. 22) at 1 p.m., in the Academy's Cadet West Gym.