March 12, 2014
The 10th-ranked Air Force men's gymnastics team returns to action on Saturday (March 15), when it closes out the regular season at a five-team meet in Lincoln, Neb. The Falcons, who were off from competition last weekend, will face fifth-ranked Minnesota, sixth-ranked Illinois, seventh-ranked Iowa and 12th-ranked Nebraska during a 4:00 p.m. (CT), competition at the Bob Devaney Center.
The five-team meet, which will be held at the gym inside the Bob Devaney Center, will be a part of the Huskers' Pack the House night that features $1 admission. Live results will be available through Nebraska's website.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
With a four-score average of 433.633, Minnesota currently holds the highest ranking (fifth) among the quartet of teams that the Falcons will be facing this weekend. Illinois (432.400) and Iowa (431.200) are ranked sixth and seventh, respectively, while host Nebraska is ranked 12th with a 422.150 average. The Gophers are ranked third in the nation on the floor exercise, while the Hawkeyes hold the same placement on the pommel horse. Individually, the Illini have two national leaders, as Chandler Eggleston holds the top spot on the vault (15.267 average) and Jordan Valdez is ranked first on the high bar (15.330 average).
HOW THE RANKINGS WORK
The determining factor for the GymInfo National Rankings changed on March 10, as the listing began using the Four Score Average. Under this standard, which will be used until March 31, the rankings are determined by taking the four highest scores of each team (counting no more than two home meets), dropping the highest score and averaging the remaining three scores.
A LOOK AT THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
As a team, the Falcons are ranked among the nation's top-10 in three of the six events, highlighted by a No. 6 ranking on the pommel horse (71.017). The Falcons are also ranked eighth on the floor exercise (72.750) and ninth on the still rings (72.633), while standing just outside the top 10 (11th) on the remaining three events. Individually, Tim Wang is ranked fifth in the all-around (86.000) and seventh on the pommel horse (14.850), while Tyler Huebner is ranked 12th on the still rings (15.217).
WANG EARNS SECOND NATIONAL AWARD
Tim Wang was named the CGA Gymnast of the Week award (USAG Collegiate Division) on March 6, marking his second time this season that he has earned the national award. During the Falcons' two victories over Illinois-Chicago during the Feb. 28-Mar. 2 weekend, Wang accounted for 10 first-place finishes, four career-best marks and two Academy records.
FALCONS CLIMB TO EIGHTH IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
Accounting for a three-score average 432.983, Air Force matched the highest national ranking in program history on March 3, when it moved ¬into eighth on the GymInfo National Rankings. Backed by an Academy-record performance of 439.700, the current squad, which has been listed among the nation's top 10 during each of the last five weeks, matched the 2011 team that earned a No. 8 listing in the March 28 poll.
AIR FORCE SHATTERS ACADEMY RECORD IN WIN OVER UIC
The Falcons tallied a 439.700 during their win over Illinois-Chicago on March 2, adding over eight points to the previous Academy record. Air Force earned individual titles on all six events, while improving the program's overall score on the high bar (74.350) by nearly two points. When compared to other "season-best" marks from around the country, Air Force's 439.700 is ranked fifth in the NCAA.
FALCONS SWEEP EVENT TITLES DURING FINAL HOME WEEKEND
Air Force claimed at least a share of all six event titles during both meets against Illinois-Chicago (Feb. 28, March 2). Tyler Huebner swept the still rings titles, while Tim Wang earned both titles on the floor exercise (shared March 2 honors with Denis Aurelius), pommel horse, high bar (shared March 2 honors with Skyler Awisus) and all-around. Wang also claimed titles on the parallel bars (Feb. 28) and vault (March 2), while Mac Ritchie (parallel bars) and Ben Zaiser (vault) claimed the titles on the alternating days.
Backed by a share of first from Skyler Awisus and Tim Wang, the Falcons claimed the top five high bar scores on March 2. The duo, which tallied matching scores of 14.950, paced a trio of Falcons - Nick Gaudlip, Mac Ritchie, Chase Cannon - that tied for third with equal scores of 14.850. Ritchie also added a career-best 14.900 to lead Air Force to the top five scores on the parallel bars, with Gaudlip (14.600), Wang (14.500), Awisus (14.200) and Josh Ramos (13.550) rounding out the top half of the field.
AIR FORCE DOWNS UIC IN RETURN HOME
Backed by four event titles from Tim Wang, the Falcons earned a 23-point victory over Illinois-Chicago during their return the Academy's Center Gym on Feb. 28. Wang scored a 15.100 on the pommel horse to match his own Academy record on that event, while collecting a (then) Academy record score of 87.200 to win the all-around.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
Air Force begins the championship season next weekend, when it travels to Annapolis, Md., for the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships. The Falcons begin their quest for a fifth straight USAG title with the team finals on Friday, March 21, before the top individuals return to McDonough Hall on Saturday, March 22, for the event finals.