April 5, 2012
The 12th-ranked Air Force men's gymnastics team closes out the 2012 home schedule on this weekend, when it hosts the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships. The meet, which features four of the nation's top 12 teams, will be held at the Academy's Cadet West Gym at 5 p.m., on Saturday, April 7.
The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Men's Gymnastics Championships will feature four teams, including second-ranked Oklahoma, third-ranked Stanford, seventh-ranked California and 12th-ranked Air Force. Single session tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students with a valid ID. Tickets will only be available at the door to West Gym the day of the meet and are cash only. If you can't make it to the meet, the Falcons will have a web stream available at www.GoAirForceFalcons.com.
LOOKING AT THE FIELD
All four conference opponents are ranked within the top 12 of the national standings. Oklahoma is currently ranked second in the standings with a Regional Qualifying Score of 354.167, while defending NCAA champion Stanford is ranked third with a RQS of 352.650. California is ranked seventh with a score of 344.367, while Air Force is ranked 12th with a 336.433 RQS. Oklahoma's Jake Dalton leads the nation on the floor exercise (16.017 RQS), parallel bars (15.283 RQS) and all-around (89.133), while Stanford's Eddie Penev leads the league on the vault with a 15.367 average.
IN THE RANKINGS
Using the Four Score Average (select the four highest scores - counting no more than two home meets - drop the highest score and average the remaining three scores) that went into effect March 19, Air Force is ranked among the nation's top 10 on the high bar (56.217, ninth), still rings (57.467, 10th tie) and parallel bars (56.333, 10th). Individually, Josh Ramos is tied for 12th on the parallel bars with an RQS of 14.567, while Devin Menefee is tied for 17th on the still rings (14.833), James Okamoto is ranked 21st on the pommel horse (14.400) and Mac Ritchie is tied for 25th on the high bar (14.267).
RITCHIE EARNS WEEKLY HONORS
Mac Ritchie was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Week and the Air Force Athlete of the Week award after claiming his first USAG high bar title. The sophomore tied the Academy record of 14.900 to win his first career USAG national title by a 0.650 margin on March 31. Ritchie, who scored a then-career mark 14.650 to win the preliminary competition by 0.450, helped the Falcons to their third straight USAG team title.
COACHES EARN USAG AWARDS
Kip Simons was named the USAG Varsity Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the USAG Championships, while Jeff Robinson and Chuck Schweiss shared the USAG Varsity Assistant Coach of the Year award. It is the third such award for Simons, who also claimed the honor in 2008 and 2010. Robinson and Schweiss shared the honor last year, while Schweiss shared the honor with former assistant Brett McClure in 2010.
AIR FORCE CLAIMS PROGRAM-BEST NINE USAG ALL-AMERICANS
A program-best nine Falcons claimed USAG All-America status, based on their top-six finishes in the event finals of the USAG Championships. Corbin Palmer (floor exercise, parallel), James Okamoto (pommel horse, high bar), Nick Gaudlip (floor exercise), Greg Chaput (pommel horse), Gared Chapman (still rings), Devin Menefee (still rings), Ben Zaiser (vault), Josh Ramos (parallel bars) and Mac Ritchie (high bar) earned USAG All-American honors.
AIR FORCE TRIO EARNS USAG TITLES
Three Falcons claimed USAG national titles during the event finals on March 31. Ben Zaiser (vault), Josh Ramos (parallel bars) and Mac Ritchie (high bar) each claimed their first USAG national title. Zaiser's title on the vault marked the third straight year that an Air Force gymnast has won the USAG title on that event, while Ramos' win marked the fourth time in five years that the Falcons have claimed the parallel bars title. Ritchie became the first Falcon since Erin Montague in 1999 to win the USAG high bar title.
FALCONS WIN THIRD STRAIGHT USAG TITLE
Backed by a season-high score of 341.050, Air Force successfully defended its USAG national team title on March 30. It is the third straight year that the Falcons have claimed the USAG title, defeating William and Mary (331.850), Navy (326.900) and Springfield (324.350).
HIGH FLYING HIGH BAR
Air Force opened the USAG Championships on the high bar, recording five of the six top scores and the fourth-best team score in Academy history (56.950). Mac Ritchie (14.650), James Okamoto (14.150), Tory Brown (14.100), Josh Ramos (14.050) and Corbin Palmer (14.000) helped Air Force dominate the top of the leaderboard on that event.
MORE NEWS FROM THE USAG CHAMPIONSHIPS
Backed by matching 15.100 marks from Devin Menefee and Gared Chapman, the Falcons set an Academy record team score of 59.450 on the still rings during the team finals on March 30. Menefee, Chapman, Tyler Huebner (14.900, fifth) and Ben Zaiser (14.350, seventh) all finished within the top 10 of that event. Air Force also claimed five of the top-six scores on the pommel horse, behind Greg Chaput's winning score of 14.000. James Okamoto (13.850, third-tie), Nick Gaudlip (13.750, sixth), Alex Jessop (13.700, seventh) and Corbin Palmer (13.650, eighth) all placed within the top 10.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
Air Force will find out its NCAA fate early next week. The 2012 NCAA Men's Gymnastics National Championships will be held April 19-21 in Norman, Okla.