April 1, 2010
The No. 12 Air Force men's gymnastics team continues the championship season this weekend, as it travels to Norman, Okla., for the 2010 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships on Saturday, April 3. The meet, which will feature five of the nation's top 12 teams, is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (CST) at the Howard McCasland Field House on Oklahoma's campus.
Meet Notes 11: at MPSF Championships
LET'S MEET THE COMPETITION
As usual, the MPSF Championships feature the nation's top team. This year, Stanford earns that distinction with a three-score average of 359.367. The Cardinal edged Oklahoma for the top spot by just .050, as the Sooners are ranked second with a three-score mark of 359.317. California is currently ranked eighth with an average of 345.433, while Nebraska is ranked 11th at 342.567 - a three-score average that is less than .500 ahead of No. 12 Air Force (342.083).
YOU LOOK FAMILIAR
Air Force has faced three of its four conference opponents at least once this season. The Falcons have seen Nebraska the most, as they have faced off three times this season. However, Air Force has not competed against them since a quad meet at the Cornhuskers' arena on Feb. 21. The Falcons have also faced Oklahoma and Stanford once this season. Air Force hosted the Sooners during the season-opening Rocky Mountain Open and welcomed the Cardinal to the Academy on during its final home weekend of the season (March 5).
HOW WE MOVE...
Air Force will open the MPSF Championships on the floor and continue through the normal rotation (pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars, high bar). Cal will open on the pommel horse, while host Oklahoma starts on the still rings. Nebraska will begin rotating on the vault, while Stanford opens on the parallel bars.
SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST
Against NCAA competition, the Falcons have made a dramatic turnaround over the course of the year. Air Force opened the season with seven losses against varsity teams. However, since the beginning of March, the Air Force has won six of eight competitions, while posting six of the top seven team scores in Academy history.
RANK YOU VERY MUCH
Devin Menefee is currently ranked seventh on the still rings, with a three-score average of 14.983, while Nash Mills is ranked eighth in the all-around with an average of 85.800. In addition to his team-best national ranking, Menefee is tied for 22nd on the vault with Mills, who is also ranked on the parallel bars (14th) and still rings (19th). Chase Nobles and James Okamoto are ranked 13th and 22nd, respectively, on the pommel horse, while Joel Uptmor is ranked 19th on the vault and Dan Klimkowski is tied for 24th on the still rings. As a team, the Falcons are ranked seventh on the still rings and ninth on both the vault and pommel horse.
AIR FORCE COACHES WIN USAG AWARDS
Kip Simons was named the USAG Head Coach of the Year, while Brett McClure and Lt Col Chuck Schweiss were voted as the USAG Assistant Coaches of the Year. Simons, who also claimed the honor in 2008, is in his fifth season as the Falcons' head coach. McClure is in his fourth season, while Schweiss is in his second.
FALCONS WIN FIRST-EVER USAG NATIONAL TITLE
Air Force claimed its first-ever national title at the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships on March 26. The Falcons tallied a team score of 342.350 - the fourth-highest score in Academy history - to better the field by over seven points, as defending champion William and Mary finished second with a score of 335.150.
MILLS AND MENEFEE EARN NATIONAL TITLES
Nash Mills claimed USAG titles in the all-around and on the parallel bars, while Devin Menefee used an Academy record performance to win the national vault title. Tallying an all-around score of 85.450, Mills tied for first with the defending champion (William and Mary's Derek Gygax) on March 26, before placing first on the parallel bars with a score of 14.500 the next night. Menefee stuck a tremendous 15.950 vault to not only win his first USAG title, but to set a new program record in the process.
DID YOU KNOW?
Nash Mills' USAG title in the all-around marked the third time in four years that an Air Force gymnast has won the national title in the combined events. Former Falcon standout Greg Stine won back-to-back titles at the 2007 and 2008 meets.
EVEN MORE TRIVIA
Devin Menefee and Nash Mills became just the fourth pair of Falcons to win USAG national titles during the same year since 1994. The pair joins Greg Stine/Jake Schonig (2008) and Javin Peterson/Levi Torkelson (2000) and Jerry Michael Cline/Brian Rizzoli (1994). In addition, Menefee is just the second Air Force gymnast to ever win the national vault title, joining Aaron Jackson in 2003.
FALCONS EARN NINE USAG ALL-AMERICA HONORS
Six Falcons combined for nine USAG All-America certificates following top-six performances at the event finals on March 27. Nash Mills (all-around, parallel bars) and Devin Menefee (vault) paced the squad with their first-place finishes, while Mills claimed additional certificates on the still rings and vault. James Okamoto was the national runner-up on the pommel horse, while Dan Klimkowski finished second on the still rings. Air Force also gained USAG All-America status for Chase Nobles (pommel horse, fourth) and Garrett Canter (high bar, fifth).
MILLS REPEATS AS MPSF GYMNAST OF THE WEEK
After claiming two USAG national titles and pacing the Falcons to their first-ever team title, Nash Mills earned his second consecutive MPSF Gymnast of the Week award.
A NOBLE PERFORMANCE
Chase Nobles continued to improve the program's pommel horse standard, setting a new record score of 14.800 to place first during the team finals of the USAG Championships on March 26. In addition to Nobles' record-setting score, another pair of Falcons tallied personal-best marks, as James Okamoto tallied a personal-best 14.600 and Garrett Canter upped his career-best score to 14.000. This trio helped Air Force score a combined mark of 57.500 - shattering the previous standard by nearly two points (55.950).
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
Air Force will learn its NCAA fate next week, when the selection committee announces the field of competitors for the national meet. The 2010 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships will take place on April 15-17 in West Point, N.Y.