Feb. 27, 2014
The ninth-ranked Air Force men's gymnastics team closes out its 2014 home schedule this weekend, as it hosts 17th-ranked Illinois-Chicago for a pair of dual meet competitions. The Falcons and Flames will first meet at the Academy's Center Gym on Friday, Feb. 28, at 7:00 p.m., before facing off at 1:00 p.m., on Sunday, March 2.
Both meets, which will be held at the Academy's Cadet Center Gym, are free for spectators.
Prior to Sunday's competition, Air Force will honor its senior class - Patrick Duffy, Tyler Huebner, Nick Owen, Mac Ritchie and Ben Zaiser - during the squad's annual Senior Day Celebration.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
With a three-score average of 404.933, Illinois-Chicago is currently ranked 17th in the GymInfo National Rankings. The Flames are coming off of a 431.400-409.900 home loss to Iowa on Sunday. UIC is ranked among the top 15 teams on the vault and high bar, while Joseph Hodges is listed among the country's top 20 in the all-around (80.150, 19th). Air Force faced Illinois-Chicago earlier this season during a triangular meet at Temple, defeating the Flames by a 424.550-403.550 margin.
FALCONS MAINTAIN #9 RANKING
Air Force is ranked ninth in this week's GymInfo National Rankings, by maintaining a three-score average of 427.933. That average, bolstered by two of the three highest scores in Academy history, has propelled the Falcons to third in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, as Air Force holds a 0.183 average over California.
A LOOK AT THE RANKINGS
As a team, the Falcons are ranked among the nation's top 10 on four of the six events, including No. 8 rankings on the pommel horse (71.050) and still rings (73.200). The Falcons also hold No. 9 rankings on the floor exercise (72.750) and parallel bars (71.600). Individually, the Falcons have two nationally-ranked gymnasts with Tim Wang (all-around, seventh; pommel horse, 11th) and Tyler Huebner (still rings, eighth)
GAUDLIP TAKES NINTH ON WINTER CUP HIGH BAR
With a two-day total of 28.200 on the high bar, Nick Gaudlip posted the Falcons' highest finish ever at the prestigious Winter Cup Challenge. Highlighting his overall score was a third-place preliminary mark of 14.350 on Feb. 20, before following that up with a 13.850 in the championship round on Feb. 22. His two-day total placed him ninth in the 31-competitor high bar that included Olympians and current members of the national team.
WANG FINISHES 16TH IN ALL-AROUND WINTER CUP
Tim Wang recorded a two-day all-around total of 162.950 to finish 16th at the Winter Cup Challenge. Individually, the Falcons' freshman recorded an event-best 12th-place finish on the high bar (two day total of 27.900).
AIR FORCE PAIR MAKES PROGRAM HISTORY AT WINTER CUP CHALLENGE
Nick Gaudlip and Tim Wang became the first two gymnasts in Academy history to advance to the finals of the Winter Cup Challenge after strong performances in the preliminary round. Gaudlip finished third among 30 high bar competitors following a season-best performance of 14.350, while Wang accounted for a pair of top-10 individual finishes and an eighth-place finish in the all-around (82.050, fifth amongst collegiate gymnasts).
FALCONS SWEEP TEMPLE TRIANGULAR
Six different Falcons accounted for first-place finishes as Air Force picked up an easy team title at the Temple Triangular on Feb. 15, scoring a 424.550 to defeat Illinois-Chicago (403.550) and Temple (402.500). Ben Zaiser (floor exercise), Nick Owen (pommel horse), Tyler Huebner (still rings), Denis Aurelius (vault), Greg Chaput (parallel bars) and Chase Cannon (high bar)
SWEEP IT UP
Backed by a 14.800 from Ben Zaiser, the Falcons swept the top-six scores on the floor exercise during the Temple Triangular. Nick Gaudlip finished second with a 14.650, while Denis Aurelius placed third (14.800). Josh Ramos added a fourth-place score of 14.400, while Aaron Nubine (14.250) and Patrick Duffy (14.200) completed sweep with fifth- and sixth-place finishes.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE
In addition to the top-six sweep on the floor exercise, Air Force also claimed fourth of the top-five scores on the pommel horse, still rings and high bar.
HUEBNER SETS STILL RINGS RECORD AT ARMY
With a 15.800, Tyler Huebner became the first Falcon since 2009 to impact the program's top five as he broke the program's 2008 mark of 15.700. The senior used a score that eclipsed the competition by nearly one point to easily win the event title.
FALCONS DEFEAT RIVAL ARMY
Air Force edged Army by a 417.850-416.050 margin to continue its win streak against the Black Knights. The win marked the Falcons' seventh-straight dual meet win over their service academy rivals from West Point. Tyler Huebner won the still rings, while Gared Chapman and Chase Cannon won the vault and high bar, respectively.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
Air Force will be off from competition next weekend, before closing out the regular season at a five-team meet in Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday, March 15. Traveling to the Cornhuskers' gym for the second time this season, the Falcons will face fifth-ranked Minnesota, sixth-ranked Illinois, eighth-ranked Iowa and 11th-ranked Nebraska.