After a three-week break from team competition, the 11th-ranked Air Force men’s gymnastics team returns to action on Saturday, March 3, when it faces off with fourth-ranked Ohio State and fifth-ranked Nebraska at the annual Arnold Challenge in Columbus, Ohio.
The Arnold Challenge, which is slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. (ET), will be held in the Celeste Center at the Ohio Expo Center. Admission is $20 and can be purchased at the door, while advanced tickets are available through Ticketmaster for $15. Live results will be available (a direct link is located on the Falcons’ schedule page), while a webcast will be available via the Buckeyes’ Facebook page.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Ohio State and Nebraska are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in the latest national standings. The Buckeyes, who hold a three-score average of 410.000, currently lead the country on the still rings (70.883) and hold top-five rankings on the pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar, while the Cornhuskers hold a three-score mark of 409.600, lead the NCAA on the vault (72.900) and are ranked among the top-five on the floor exercise and pommel horse. Ohio State hasn’t competed in a team competition since Feb. 9, when it dropped a 417.400-414.900 home contest to Penn State, and Nebraska is coming off of a 402.800-398.500 victory over Iowa last Friday.
YOU LOOK FAMILIAR
Air Force hosted both Nebraska and Ohio State at the season-opening Rocky Mountain Open in January. Nebraska won its first RMO with a 407.700, while Ohio State scored a 404.450 to take second and Air Force registered a 389.950 to place fourth.
AIR FORCE IN THE RANKINGS
The Falcons, ranked 11th in the nation, with a three-score average of 400.467, is listed among the nation’s top 10 on the pommel horse (fifth, 67.267), still rings (sixth, 68.350) and vault (ninth, 69.917). Individually, Lukas Texeira is tied for fifth on the high bar with a three-score average of 14.117 and Fletcher Braunton is listed seventh on the still rings with a mark of 14.317.
FIVE UP, FIVE COUNT
With the Winter Cup Challenge complete, NCAA scoring now moves into the “five up, five count” portion of the season. Under these guidelines, squads produce a five-man lineup for each event and all five gymnasts count (previously scoring involved a six-man lineup and the ability to drop the lowest score).
WHAT’S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
The Falcons are back in action next weekend, when they travel to the Midwest for triangular meets at Illinois (with Illinois-Chicago on Friday, March 9) and at Iowa (with Minnesota on Sunday, March 11).