Falcons Finish Fifth at MPSF Championships
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force men's gymnastics team closed out the team slate with a fifth-place finish at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships on Saturday, March 25, at the Academy. The Falcons tallied a team score of 184.725 -- a total that is just shy of their season-best -- to finish fifth in a championship that features three of the top five programs in the country.
This was the first time in MPSF history that the team, all-around and individual event titles were contested on the same night, due to the Academy also hosting the women's championships last night.
The team championship finishes were directly parallel to the squad's rankings in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation prior to the competition. Oklahoma, the top-ranked team in the country, picked up its seventh title with a team score of 219.175. Stanford, who is currently ranked No. 2 in the country, was close behind with a combined score of 217.075. Cal placed third with a score of 216.450, while Nebraska took fourth with a team total of 209.275.
Cal's Timothy McNeill won the all-around with a combined score of 55.325. Included in that total is a pair of individual event titles. McNeill also won the pommel horse with a score of 9.325 and the parallel bar with a mark of 9.700 -- the highest total of the night on any event. Oklahoma's Jonathan Horton also earned a pair of conference championships, winning the floor exercise (9.600) and still rings (9.650), while tying for second in the all-around with a mark of 54.100.
Stanford's David Sender, who tied with Horton in the all-around, earned the vault title with a score of 9.550, while Oklahoma's Chris Brooks won the high bar, after collecting a score of 9.525.
For Air Force, senior captain Brian Moore improved his season-best all-around total by nearly two points as he recorded a 47.050 to finish sixth. Moore led the Falcons on the pommel horse (7.650) and still rings (7.900), setting season-best scores in each. In addition to Moore's sixth-place finish in the all-around, junior Kurt Antonio finished ninth with a score of 44.150.
The Falcons' leaders for the other four events were underclassmen, once again providing a positive look for the future. Sophomore Brian Boardman was the top-scoring Falcon on the floor exercise, earning an 8.050. Classmate Tyler Sickles scored an 8.175 on the parallel bars, while fellow sophomore Jon Roberts posted a 7.850 on the high bar to finish 20th. Freshman Josiah Loeser, who hadn't competed since early March, scored an 8.600 on the vault to lead the squad.
Oklahoma's Horton, who also accounted for a second-place score on the parallel bars (9.500) and a fourth-place mark on the vault (9.300) was named the MPSF Gymnast of the Year, as voted on by the league's five head coaches. In a vote by their peers, first-year head coach Kip Simons (Air Force) and OU mentor Mark Williams were chosen as MPSF Co-Coaches of the Year.