Jan. 29, 2010
After a two hiatus from competition, the Air Force men's gymnastics team, currently ranked 14th in the national polls, returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 30, when it travels to Minneapolis, Minn., for a triangular meet with eighth-ranked Minnesota and 10th-ranked Nebraska. Action is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (CST) at Minnesota's Sports Pavilion. Live stats will be available on www.gophersports.com.
Meet Notes 02: at Minnesota, with Nebraska
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: MINNESOTA
Minnesota, ranked eighth nationally, is coming off of wins over Arizona State and Washington last weekend. The Gophers, who opened the season with a fifth-place finish at the Windy City Classic, improved to 3-4 on the season with the victories. Three Minnesota gymnasts are ranked among the national leaders, led by Aaron Fortunato's three top-20 placements (high bar: fourth; all-around: 12th, floor exercise: 19th).
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: NEBRASKA
Nebraska, like Air Force, has only competed in one meet this season. The two programs met earlier this month at the Rocky Mountain Open. The Huskers are ranked 10th in the GymInfo national standings, with six gymnasts earning individual nods. Kyle Shanahan leads Nebraska with a fifth-place ranking on the parallel bars, while John Robinson (vault: seventh), Andreas Hofer (parallel bars: ninth) and Mike Heredia (vault: ninth).
RANK YOU VERY MUCH
As a team, the Falcons are ranked among the nation's top-10 in a pair of events. Air Force is ranked ninth in the pommel horse (52.650) and 10th in the vault (61.200), while nearing the top-10 in the floor exercise (12th: 55.450). Individually, Nash Mills is tied for ninth on the vault (15.700), while James Okamoto is ranked 11th on the pommel horse (14.050).
FALCONS OFF TO STRONG START
Air Force posted its best season-opening score to date, as it tallied a 325.850 to place third at the Rocky Mountain Open on Jan. 16. The Falcons' combined vault score of 61.200 was the second-highest total in Academy history, while their pommel horse total of 53.650 was ranked ninth.
A DEBUT TO REMEMBER
In his collegiate debut, freshman James Okamoto recorded a score of 14.050 on the pommel horse at the Rocky Mountain Open. Just one meet into his collegiate career, Okamoto became just the second Falcon to clear the 14-point mark in that event. That score is the second-highest pommel score in Academy history and only .150 behind the Academy record.
MILL'ING UP THE SCORES
Junior Nash Mills was the Falcons' top finisher in a pair of events at the Rocky Mountain Open, leading to a sixth-place finish in the all-around. Mills tied for fifth on the vault with a score of 15.700, while placing sixth on the parallel bars at 13.950. His vault score, a personal best, is ranked third in the program's all-time record book.
THREE FALCONS INVITED TO WINTER CUP
Junior Nash Mills, sophomore Joel Uptmor and freshman Tory Brown were selected to compete at the prestigious Winter Cup Challenge in early February. In just one season, Air Force matched its total of gymnasts that have been invited to the Winter Cup over the past 20 years. Only Joel Miller (1992) and Jeff Andersen (2004) have competed at the Winter Cup, although Greg Stine (2007) was invited, but had to withdraw due to injury.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
Air Force will be off from team competition next week, as three members travel to Las Vegas, Nev., for the 2010 Winter Cup Challenge on Feb. 4-6. The Falcons return to action on Saturday, Feb. 13, when they travel to Aliso Viejo, Calif., for the annual All-Academy Championships.