March 6, 2013
The 11th-ranked Air Force men's gymnastics team travels to Tucson, Ariz., this Friday (March 8) for a neutral site triangular meet with No. 18 Arizona State and Washington. Wrapping up a mid-season span of eight straight meets on the road, the Falcons will face the Sun Devils and Huskies at 7 p.m. (PST).
The neutral site meet between Air Force and the Arizona State and Washington club teams will be held at Sabino High School in Tucson (5000 North Bowes Road).
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
Arizona State is ranked 18th in the GymInfo National Rankings with a three-score average of 397.950. The Sun Devils have one individual ranked among the nation's top 20, as Lee Wilkerson is ranked 18th in the all-round with a three-score average of 79.675. Arizona State, which will host second-ranked Michigan prior to Friday's meet with Air Force, is coming off of a fourth-place finish (389.900) at Stanford's Collegiate Challenge on March 2. Unranked Washington also competed at Stanford, finishing fifth with a 357.700.
IN THE RANKINGS
Air Force improved its three-score average to 422.983 and remains ranked 11th in the GymInfo National Rankings. As a team, the Falcons are ranked among the top 15 in all six events, including top-10 rankings on the still rings (72.817, eighth), vault (72.917, eighth) and parallel bars (70.200, 10th). Individually, Tory Brown is tied for 10th on the vault with a three-score mark of 14.967, while Gared Chapman is tied for 16th on that even with a score of 14.933. Nick Own is also ranked among the nation's top gymnasts, holding the No. 20 ranking on the pommel horse with a three-score average of 14.683.
BROWN CLAIMS WEEKLY HONORS
After winning five of eight events during the Falcons' sweep of Illinois-Chicago, Tory Brown was selected as the Air Force Athlete of the Week on March 4 and the MPSF Gymnast of the Week on March 5 and the CGA National Gymnast of the Week on March 6. The senior won the floor exercise (career-best 15.000), vault (14.900) and parallel bars (career-best 14.750) on Friday, before capturing the vault (career-best 15.050) and high bar (career-best 14.500) titles on Sunday. Brown also added his name to the top of the program's vault standings on Sunday, as his score of 15.050 matched the Academy record.
FALCONS SWEEP ILLINOIS-CHICAGO
Backed by a combined eight first-place finishes, Air Force completed a series sweep of Illinois-Chicago over the March 1-3 weekend in Chicago. Breaking the 420-point mark during both competitions, the Falcons easily defeated the Flames on Friday (421.850-405.550) and Sunday (420.050-411.750) at the UIC Physical Education Building. Using the new scoring system which went into effect March 1 (see page 2 of this release for an explanation), Air Force bettered UIC by a 12.3 average over the weekend.
PICKING UP THE TITLES
Air Force claimed eight of 12 first-place finishes during the dual-meet wins over Illinois-Chicago on March 1-3. Tory Brown won the floor exercise, vault and parallel bars on Friday, while Mac Ritchie claimed the top spot on the high bar. Brown added to his event title total on Sunday, placing first on the vault and high bar. In addition, Gared Chapman won the still rings, while Ritchie and Greg Chaput tied for first on the parallel bars.
SETTING THE STANDARD
Air Force's vault record has been set, reset and matched during three straight weeks of action. Gared Chapman first set the Academy record (15.000) in a win at the All-Academy Championships on Feb. 16, when he became the first Air Force gymnast to reach the 15-point mark on that event. He improved the record to 15.050 the following week (Feb. 23) during an event win at Oklahoma and Tory Brown matched that score with a victory on the vault at Illinois-Chicago on March 3.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
After being on the road for the last eight meets, the Falcons return to the Academy next week to close out the regular season. Air Force will host Temple on Thursday, March 14, at the Academy's Cadet West Gym, before closing out the 2013 home schedule against Washington on Saturday, March 16. Air Force will honor its three seniors - Tory Brown, Alex Jessop and James Okamoto - prior to Saturday's contest.