March 3, 2004
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After six consecutive meets away from home, the road-weary Air Force men's gymnastics team gets to compete in the friendly surroundings of the Cadet West Gymnasium this weekend, when they host Illinois-Chicago on Friday, March 5, at 7:30 p.m. The Falcons return to action for Senior Day on Sunday, March 7, when they host Illinois-Chicago and California at 1 p.m.
The Falcons' meet against Illinois-Chicago and California will be the final time that five Air Force seniors take to the floor of the Cadet West Gymnasium. Join us in honoring co-captains Jeff Andersen and Mike Berry, as well as Julian Benton, Matt Joseph and Noah Rich in their final competition at the Academy.
RWATCHING THE FLAMES
Illinois-Chicago has improved its school record each of the past two weeks - recording a 217.725 last weekend in a loss to Temple...the Flames are currently ranked 12th in the most-recent national GymInfo rankings with a three-score average of 209.608...as a team, UIC is ranked among the top-12 in every event...nationally, Neil Faustino is ranked No. 15 on the still rings (9.300), while Nick Stavros is ranked No. 19 (9.167)...Faustino is also ranked No. 11 on the vault and No. 9 (9.317) in the all-around (52.067)...
HUNTING THE BEARS
California dropped from its No. 1 ranking last week to No. 3 with a three-score average of 217.000...the Bears posted a season-best 220.050 in their last competition, which was two weeks ago against Stanford to originally take the top-ranking...as a team, they lead the country on the pommel horse, with an average of 36.858...individually, Graham Ackerman leads the nation on the vault (9.558), while sitting second and third, respectively, on the floor (9.533) and high bar (9.633)...
YOU LOOK FAMILIAR
Air Force has faced off with California once this season, falling 216.625-199.800 in a tri-meet with Stanford, in Berkeley, Calif., on Jan. 30...Greg Stine won the still rings and all-around titles for the Falcons at that meet.
HITTING OVER 200
Air Force posted a team score of 201.250 at the All-Academy Championships on Feb. 14. Since that time, the Falcons have added over two points to their season's best score, registering a 203.550 in the next competition at Army. The Falcons have steadily improved over the course of the season, raising their team totals every week. After scoring a 192.850 at the Rocky Mountain Open, they scored a 195.275 at Oklahoma. The Falcons continued its climb with a 199.800 at a tri-meet with Cal and Stanford, prior to topping the 200-mark at the All-Academy Championships.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN WINS AND LOSSES DON'T MATTER?
Unlike most sports, gymnastics is one that is based on the overall team score and not the win-loss record. Qualification for the NCAA Championships (April 2-4), is based on the team's National Qualifying Average (NQA). The NQA is determined by selecting the four highest regular-season scores (with no more than two home meets) and dropping the highest. The score from the conference meet will be doubled and then added to the remaining three scores. The average of those scores is known as the National Qualifying Average. The NQA rankings will first be announced on March 22.
Jeff Andersen and Greg Stine are among the nation's best on the still rings. Both gymnasts are currently ranked in the Top-10 for that event. Stine is ranked ninth, with an average of 9.417, while Andersen is nipping at his heels in 10th, with a 9.400 average. Stine also holds a 10th-place ranking in the all-around, recording an average score of 51.783.
Although Air Force has been on the lower side of the score compared to most of their NCAA Division I competition this season, you have to stop and see the top-ten teams that the Falcons have been competing against. Air Force has already faced the two-time defending national champions from Oklahoma - currently the second-ranked team in the country - twice this season. The Falcons have also faced No. 9 Army on two occasions and will have taken on third-ranked California for the second time come Sunday. Air Force has also faced off with the top-10 teams from Iowa (currently No. 6), Nebraska (currently No. 8) and Stanford (currently No. 10).
NEWS FROM THE MPSF
Two Falcons are ranked in the among the conference's top-three on the still rings this week, as Greg Stine is second with a three score average of 9.417 and Jeff Andersen is third with an average of 9.400...Stine is ninth in the conference on the floor exercise, while Ryan Stromstad is tied for 16th and Kent Richle is 20th... Andersen is No. 11 on the pommel horse and Stine is tied for 19th...Stine, Patrick McAndrew and Stromstad are ranked No. 12, No. 18 and No. 19, respectively, on the vault...Andersen and Stine are back-to-back on the parallel bars with rankings of 12 and 13...Mike Berry is tied for 19th on that event...Stine is tied for No. 17 on the high bar.
Jeff Andersen holds the five highest scores of the season for the Falcons on the pommel horse...Stine holds the team's top score on the floor, still rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar...Stine has also registered the highest score of the season in the all-around (52.650) on two occasions...the Falcons recorded their highest team scores of the season this past weekend on the floor exercise, still rings, vault and overall total...Air Force topped their vault score by one point and added nearly a point to their still rings total...in terms of the team total, the Falcons added over two points to their previous best.
The Falcons wrap up the regular season with a trip to Lincoln, Neb., on Friday, March 12, when they face Mountain Pacific Sports Federation foes, Oklahoma and Nebraska. It is Air Force's last meet before the MPSF Championships, which will be held in Palo Alto, Calif., on March 19-20.