Six Falcons Qualify to NCAA Championships
April 8, 2009
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Six members of the Air Force men's gymnastics team were invited to compete at the 2009 National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics Championships, the NCAA selection committee announced. This group of Falcons will travel to Minneapolis, Minn., for the annual three-day competition at the Minnesota Sports Pavilion.
"I am delighted with the amount of guys that qualified to the NCAA tournament," head coach Kip Simons said. "With four underclassmen qualifying, the future looks bright."
Two of the Falcons are ranked first among the individual event specialists in their respective events. Senior Jake Schonig, who is ranked third nationally on the still rings, leads the field of specialists with a National Qualifying Score of 15.320. It is the third appearance at the national meet for Schonig, who posted the Falcons' best finish in over 10 years at the 2007 meet.
Sophomore Aaron Zaiser qualified on the floor exercise and vault, marking the second straight year that the sophomore has made it to the national meet on two events. He is the leading event specialist on the floor exercise, posting a National Qualifying Score of 14.490. In addition, he will compete on the vault with a NQS of 15.100.
Schonig will be joined on the still rings by classmate Josiah Loeser, who is making his second straight appearance at the NCAA Championships. Loeser is ranked fourth among the rings specialists, with a 14.690 National Qualifying Score.
Air Force will also be represented by a pair of gymnasts on the vault. In addition to Zaiser, freshman Devin Menefee will make his national debut on the vault. Menefee, the Academy's record-holder on that event, is ranked third among event specialists on the vault with a NQS of 15.250.
Menefee is one of three Air Force gymnasts to make their national debut in 2009. Classmate and program record holder Jacob Houder will compete on the pommel horse, ranked fourth with a National Qualifying Score of 13.950. Sophomore Nash Mills will compete in the all-around, after amassing a NQS of 81.430 to rank fourth amongst the individual all-arounders.
It is the second straight year that Air Force has qualified six gymnasts to the national meet.
"These six guys have led our team all year," Simons continued. "They have earned the right to go out and showcase their hard work."
The championship weekend begins Thursday, April 16, with two sessions of the national qualifier. The top three teams, top three all-arounders not on an advancing team and the top three individuals on each event not on a qualifying team or holding an all-around spot from each session will move onto the NCAA finals, which will be held April 17-18.