Feb. 6, 2014
The ninth-ranked Air Force men's gymnastics team returns to the Academy this weekend when it hosts No. 6 Minnesota on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 5 p.m. The meet, which will run in conjunction with the women's gymnastics meet against 10th-ranked Auburn, will be held in the center section of the Cadet Gymnasium.
Saturday's meet, which will feature both the men's and women's programs, will be the first competition held in Cadet Center Gym due to construction that began this week on the Falcons' primary facility (signs will be posted to direct fans to the new venue). Admission is free, but traffic will be increased due to multiple events that are being held around the athletic department venues on Saturday, so fans are encouraged to arrive early. Due to the move into Cadet Center Gym, video streaming will not be available.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
Minnesota, ranked sixth in this week's GymInfo National Standings with a three-score average of 429.217, is coming off of a 435.000 home victory over Illinois (432.700) and Nebraska (420.700) last weekend. As a team, the Gophers are ranked among the nation's top five on the floor exercise (72.663, fifth), vault (73.617, third) and parallel bars (71.817, fifth), while two gymnasts hold top-five rankings in the individual standings - Ellis Mannon (pommel horse, fourth) and Steve Jaciuk (14.833).
A LOOK AT THE RANKINGS
As a team, the Falcons are ranked among the nation's top 10 in all six events, including a team-best sixth-place ranking on the pommel horse (three-score average of 69.783). Individually, Tim Wang is ranked second in the all-around (85.100) and listed among the top-20 on two events (pommel horse, 10th, 14.633; high bar, 20th, 14.117). Gared Chapman and Tyler Huebner also hold top-20 rankings on the still rings, as the pair is ranked 17th (14.750) and 20th (14.700), respectively.
WANG COLLECTS WEEKLY AWARDS
After leading the Falcons to a dominating win over Army and Navy at the All-Academy Championships, Tim Wang earned Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Week and Air Force Athlete of the Week honors. Wang won the floor exercise (career-best 14.850), pommel horse (career-best 14.800), vault (career-best 15.250), high bar (14.250) and all-around (career-best 87.200) during the meet, while setting an Academy record in the all-around and impacting the program's top-10 lists in three other events.
DID YOU KNOW?
Tim Wang's vault score of 15.520 was the top mark among all competitors from the afternoon session of the Houston National Invitational ... an elite field that included two members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, several international gymnasts and several athletes currently training at the USOTC.
TRIO INVITED TO WINTER CUP CHALLENGE
Three Falcons were invited to the prestigious Winter Cup Challenge in late February, USA Gymnastics announced on Feb. 3. Nick Gaudlip and Tim Wang will compete at the annual event which determines the U.S. Men's National Team, while Chris Stephenson was selected but will have to miss the meet due to injury. It is the fifth straight year that multiple Air Force gymnasts have been selected to compete at Winter Cup.
AIR FORCE DOMINATES RIVALS FOR FOURTH AAC TITLE
With a season-best score of 427.700, Air Force captured its fourth consecutive All-Academy Championship title on Feb. 1. With the second-highest overall score in Academy history, the Falcons easily defeated service academy rivals Navy (410.150) and Army (409.350). Backed by event titles from Tim Wang (floor exercise, pommel horse, vault, high bar) and Josh Ramos (parallel bars), the Falcons posted their largest margin of victory during the four-year win streak, while bettering the field by at least 16 points for the second straight year.
WANG EARNS INAUGURAL IRON CROSS AWARD
After winning four events and all-around, Tim Wang was the first recipient of the All-Academies' Iron Cross Award.
FALCONS NET ACADEMY RECORD ON THE POMMEL HORSE
Backed by four of the top-five finishes on the pommel horse, the Falcons recorded a new Academy record on that event. Tim Wang finished first with a career-best 14.800, while Nick Owen placed second with a 14.250. Greg Chaput and Jon Spiro finished fourth (14.050) and fifth (career-best 14.000), respectively, as the team combined for a program-best 70.800.
AIR FORCE SWEEPS THE HIGH BAR
The Falcons claimed the top five finishes on the high bar, as they bettered their academy rivals by nearly six points on that apparatus. Tim Wang won the meet with a 14.250, while Mac Ritchie finished second with a 14.100. Skyler Awisus placed third with a 13.900, while Josh Ramos and Chase Cannon rounded out the scoring finishes with respective fourth- (13.850) and fifth-place (13.600).
FALCONS TAKE TOP THREE ON THE PARALLEL BARS
Josh Ramos's victory on the parallel bars (14.400) paced Air Force to a sweep of the top three placements on that event, as Greg Chaput and Tim Wang finished second (14.350) and third (13.800), respectively.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
Air Force heads to the East Coast next weekend for a pair of competitions. The Falcons will face service academy rival Army in West Point, N.Y., on Friday, Feb. 14, before traveling to Philadelphia, Pa., on Saturday, Feb. 15, to face Temple.