Jan. 31, 2012
Air Force junior Tory Brown will represent the Academy's 10th-ranked men's gymnastics team at the prestigious 2012 Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas, Nev., on Feb. 2-4. Brown, who will be competing on the floor exercise, vault, parallel bars and high bar, will participate in the 1 p.m. (PST) session of the annual event that helps determine the U.S. Senior National Team.
Meet Notes 04: at Winter Cup Challenge
The 2012 Winter Cup Challenge, which features an invited group of the nation's top gymnasts, is designed to determine who will comprise the U.S. Men's Senior National Team through the 2012 Visa Championships in early June. In addition to showcasing some of the top collegiate gymnasts, including Oklahoma's Jake Dalton, the reigning Winter Cup champion, the meet will feature all six members of the bronze-medal winning 2011 Pan American Games team, U.S. all-around and world parallel bars champion Danell Leyva, two-time U.S. champion and 2008 Olympian Jonathan Horton, reigning U.S. pommel horse champion Alexander Naddour and 2010 Winter cup champion Chris Brooks.
The preliminary round of competition will be divided into two sessions. Tory Brown is scheduled for the first session, where warm-ups will begin at 11 a.m., and the competition will begin at 1 p.m. His rotation begins on the still rings, although Brown will not be competing on that event. Brown will compete on the vault, parallel bars and high bar, before concluding his competition on the floor exercise. The top 42 gymnasts, according to the Men's Program Committee points-ranking-system, and the top three gymnasts on each apparatus, will advance to Saturday's final, which is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE
Junior James Okamoto was invited to compete in his second consecutive Winter Cup Challenge, but was forced to withdraw due to a lingering back injury.
DID YOU KNOW?
Tory Brown became the first Falcon to earn three straight invitations to the Winter Cup Challenge, while James Okamoto is just the third to claim two.
IT'S A SIGN OF THE TIMES
From 1990-2009, Air Force qualified just three gymnasts to the Winter Cup Challenge (Joel Miller-1992, Jeff Andersen-2004, Greg Stine-2007). In the past three years, four gymnasts - Tory Brown (2010, 2011, 2012), Nash Mills (2010, 2011), James Okamoto (2011, 2012) and Joel Uptmor (2010) - have earned selections a total of eight times.
BROWN AT THE WINTER CUP
Tory Brown has had a strong showing at each of the last two Winter Cup Challenge events. As a freshman, he posted Air Force's best finish by scoring a 15.600 on the vault to take eighth in the preliminary round. He followed that up with a stellar 2011 Cup, finishing third on the high bar (13.650) and fourth on both the vault (15.100) and parallel bars (13.750).
FALCONS NET SEASON-HIGH AGAINST MINNESOTA
Devin Menefee won the still rings and Mac Ritchie tied for first on the high bar, as the No. 10 Falcons recorded a season-high 337.700 in a dual meet with eighth-ranked Minnesota (345.400) on Jan. 28. Menefee scored a 15.000 to easily win the rings, while Ritchie matched his career high of 14.400 to tie for the top spot on the high bar.
THE YOUNG WILL LEAD
Freshmen paced the Falcons in two events in the Jan. 28 dual meet with Minnesota. Nick Gaudlip and Josh Ramos tied for second on the floor exercise with matching marks of 14.600, while Skyler Awisus tied for third on the parallel bars with a score of 14.400. With his score on the parallel bars, Awisus moved into ninth on the program's all-time list, while the 14.600 marks by Gaudlip and Ramos on the floor exercise are tied for 13th on the program's record books.
IN THE RANKINGS
Three Falcons are ranked within the nation's top 20. Devin Menefee has the Falcons' highest ranking, as he is ranked ninth on the still rings with an average of 15.000. James Okamoto is tied for 17th on the high bar (14.100), while Josh Ramos is ranked 20th on the parallel bars with a 14.100. As a team, Air Force is ranked in the top 10 of three events. The Falcons are ranked sixth on the still rings with an average of 57.383, while holding eighth-place rankings on the parallel bars (56.217) and high bar (55.833).
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
The Falcons are off from competition until Saturday, Feb. 18, when they travel to San Jose, Calif., for the annual All-Academy Championships. Air Force will look to defend its title against Army and Navy at Spartan Gym on the campus of San Jose State University.