March 31, 2011
The eighth-ranked Air Force men's gymnastics team returns to the Academy on Saturday, April 2, to host the 2011 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Men's Gymnastics Championships. The nation's elite will participate in the conference championships, as the Falcons welcome top-ranked Oklahoma, second-ranked Stanford, third-ranked California and 11th-ranked Nebraska to the Cadet West Gym. Action is slated to begin at 5 p.m.
Meet Notes 10: MPSF Championships
LET'S MEET THE TEAMS
For the fifth time in six years, the MPSF Championship meet will feature the nation's top team. This season, Oklahoma holds that distinction with a four-score average of 359.175. Stanford is ranked second with an average of 357.437, while California is ranked third with a 354.331 average. Air Force enters the MPSF meet with its highest ranking in program history (eighth, 343.900), while Nebraska is currently ranked 11th with a four-score average of 340.412.
Tickets for the 2011 MPSF Men's Gymnastics Championships are $10 for adults and $5 for children. They can be purchased at the door of Cadet West Gym on Saturday, April 2, beginning at 3:30 p.m.
IF YOU CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE MEET...
A live webcast of the MPSF Men's Gymnastics Championships will be available on GoAirForceFalcons.com. Please click the "watch" link located on the calendar to access the free web feed.
KEEP ON CLIMBING
Just two weeks after cracking the nation's top-10 for the first time in program history, the Falcons have improved to eighth in the nation. That ranking, a four-score average of 343.900, is not only the highest in Academy history, but matches the best-ever ranking by a service academy gymnastics team. With three weeks listed among the top 10, the Falcons are currently ranked with the 2003 Army squad for the longest top-10 streak by an academy team.
GOING FOR TWO
After claiming two USAG national titles, setting an Academy record and helping the Falcons to its second straight USAG team championships, Nash Mills was named the MPSF Gymnast of the Week and the Air Force Athlete of the Week. It is the second time of the season - and the fifth of his career - that Mills has claimed the MPSF honor. He has now achieved that title more than any other gymnast in Academy history.
THE MORE YOU KNOW
Nash Mills broke his own Academy record on the parallel bars during the team competition on March 25, with a 15.200. He became the first Falcon to surpass the 15-point mark on that event, while helping Air Force to its second team title in as many years. On March 26, Mills successfully defended his USAG title on the parallel bars (14.600), while winning his first championship on the still rings with a career-best 15.300. The two titles brought Mills' career total of USAG All-America accolades to seven.
FALCONS EARN INDIVIDUAL USAG AWARDS
Nash Mills was named the USAG Most Outstanding Senior, while Jeff Robinson and Chuck Schweiss were selected as the top assistant coaches. Mills became the sixth Air Force gymnast to earn highest collegiate award for the USAG - and the fourth in the last five years. It is the second straight year that Air Force has taken home the top assistant honor, as Schweiss and former assistant Brett McClure took the honor last year.
A DOMINATING PERFORMANCE
One night after winning the USAG national team title, Air Force claimed four of the six individual event titles. Nash Mills repeated as the parallel bars champion, while winning his first-ever still rings title. The Falcons also had two first-time national champions, as James Okamoto won the pommel horse and Tory Brown finished first on the vault. Mills, Okamoto and Brown helped Air Force set a program record for the most USAG champions in a single championship meet.
DID YOU KNOW?
With his win on the parallel bars, Nash Mills became just the fourth Air Force gymnast to claim back-to-back titles on the same event, joining Levi Torkelson (parallel bars, 1999-00), Greg Stine (all-around, 2007-08) and Jake Schonig (still rings, 2008-09).
QUITE THE NIGHT
Six Falcons combined for 11 USAG All-America awards, based on their top-six finishes in the event finals. Tory Brown and Colton Wulf paced the Falcons with three accolades apiece. In addition to winning the vault, Brown finished fourth on the floor exercise and high bar, while Wulf was the runner-up on both the high bar and all-around and took third on the floor exercise. Nash Mills added two USAG All-America awards with national titles on the still rings and parallel bars to bring his career total to seven, while Ben Zaiser (vault) and Matt Thorne (parallel bars) each claimed their first.
With its second-highest score of the season (345.700), Air Force successfully defended its USAG national team title on March 25. The Falcons posted the best event scores of the night on five of the six events, en route to the team title.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
The Academy's parallel bars records got a major rewrite during the USAF team finals on March 25. Air Force set a new team record of 57.700 (a program improvement by 0.600), as all four scoring finishers surpassed the 14-point mark. The rotation was highlighted by Nash Mills, who scored a 15.200 to break his own Academy standard on that event. In addition, Matt Thorne (14.200), Mac Ritchie (career-best 14.200) and Dan Klimkowski (career-best 14.100) contributed to the new team score.
FROM THE CLASSROOM
Jacob Houder and Travis Myers were named to the USA Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete Team on March 25. Houser and Myers were two of the 22 athletes from eight schools to earn USAG Scholar-Athlete honors.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
Air Force will find out its NCAA fate early next week. The 2011 NCAA Men's Gymnastics National Championships will be held April 14-16 in Columbus, Ohio. While 70-percent of each program's National Qualifying Score is based on regular season performance, the remaining 30-percent comes from the conference championship meets.