The 11th-ranked Air Force men’s gymnastics team travels to the Midwest this week for a pair of triangular meets. The Falcons open the weekend in Champaign, Ill., for a meet against No. 7 Illinois and No. 18 Illinois-Chicago on Friday, March 9, before traveling to Iowa City, Iowa, to close out the regular season against No. 6 Minnesota and No. 9 Iowa on Sunday, March 11.
Friday’s meet at Illinois is slated to begin at 7:00 p.m. (CT) and will be held at Huff Hall. Live stats will be available for the meet and the competition will be streamed on BTN2go (direct links to both can be found on the Falcons’ schedule page). Sunday’s 1:00 p.m. (CT) meet at Iowa will be held at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Any links to live stats and/or video streaming will be posted to the Falcons’ schedule page once available.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
The Falcons will face three top-10 opponents this weekend. Minnesota is currently ranked sixth in the national standings with a three-score average of 409.050, while Illinois and Iowa are listed seventh (408.917) and ninth (402.917), respectively, in the NCAA. Illinois-Chicago, the final Air Force opponent, is currently ranked 18th in the Top-20 poll with a three-score average of 369.033. Individually, Minnesota freshman Shane Wiskus currently leads the nation on the floor exercise with a three-score mark of 14.650, while Illinois’ Brandon Ngai and Alex Diab are listed second on the pommel horse (15.117) and still rings (14.750), respectively.
YOU LOOK FAMILIAR
Air Force hosted Minnesota at the Academy in early February, as they registered their first “400” of the season during a 413.250-400.450 loss to the (then) seventh-ranked Gophers.
AIR FORCE IN THE RANKINGS
The Falcons, ranked 11th in the nation with a three-score average of 400.467, are ranked among the nation’s top 10 on the pommel horse (sixth, 67.267), still rings (sixth, 68.350), vault (ninth, 69.950) and high bar (10th tie, 65.217). Individually, Lukas Texeira is ranked sixth on the high bar with a three-score mark of 14.117, while Fletcher Braunton is ranked seventh on the still rings (14.317) and 10th on the pommel horse (14.117).
BRAUNTON LEADS FALCONS AT ARNOLD CHALLENGE
Highlighted by a runner-up score on the still rings (13.800), Fletcher Braunton collected a pair of top-five finishes in a triangular meet that included a pair of top-five teams at the Arnold Challenge on March 3. Braunton, who paced Air Force to a two-three finish on the rings (Frankie Valentin, 13.500), added a fourth-place score of 14.150 on the pommel horse.
WHAT’S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
With the regular season complete, the Falcons begin the championship portion of the 2018 campaign on March 30-31, when they host the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships at the Academy.