No. 12 Air Force Travels to NCAA Championships

    Tory Brown

    Tory Brown

    April 17, 2012

    The 12th-ranked Air Force men's gymnastics team will travel to Norman, Okla., to conclude the 2012 season at the NCAA Gymnastics Championships on April 19-21. The Falcons, who are making their second straight team appearance at the NCAA competition, will open the weekend in the second session of the National Qualifier at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Thursday, April 19.

    Meet Notes 12: at NCAA Championships Get Acrobat Reader

    The 2012 NCAA Men's Gymnastics National Championships will be held at the Lloyd Noble Center on the campus of the University of Oklahoma. All-session tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for youth aged 3-18. Single-session tickets will be available at the door prior to the start of each day's competition. Live scoring and webcasts will be available throughout the weekend at

    1 p.m.: National Qualifying Session 1
    7 p.m.: National Qualifying Session 2

    7 p.m.: Team Finals

    7 p.m.: Event Finals

    The first session of the NCAA Qualifier, which begins at 1 p.m., will feature No. 2 Penn State, defending national champion and No. 3 Stanford, No. 6 Michigan, No. 7 Ohio State, No. 10 Nebraska and No. 11 Iowa. The evening session, which starts at 7 p.m., is backed by host and top-ranked Oklahoma, No. 4 Illinois, No. 5 Minnesota, No. 8 California, No. 9 Temple and No. 12 Air Force. In addition, both sessions will feature individual competitors from Army, Illinois-Chicago, Navy, Springfield and William & Mary.

    The national qualifier, which consists of two sessions, will be held on Thursday, April 19. From each session, the top three teams, the top three all-around competitors not on an advancing team and the top three individuals on each event that are not on an advancing team or qualified as an advancing all-around competitor, will move onto the NCAA national championship meet, which will take place on April 20 (team finals) and April 21 (event finals).

    HISTORY 101
    Prior to last season, Air Force hadn't sent a full squad to a level of the NCAA Championships since 1998, when it qualified for the NCAA West Regional Championships (the current national qualifier replaced the regional meets following the 1999 season). The Falcons have made eight appearances in the NCAA Championship (Team Finals) during their history (1961-62-63-64-70-72-73), with their best finish (sixth) coming at the 1972 meet.

    HISTORY 201
    Eight Falcons have claimed All-America status at the NCAA Championships, including Greg Stine, who became the first Air Force gymnast to claim multiple certificates in a single meet (2008 still rings, all-around). Jim Weaver (1962 trampoline), Doug Reynolds (1964 tumbling), Terry Higgins (1966 parallel bars), Bill Ritter (1972 floor exercise), John Tomich (1973 vault), Joel Miller (1992 still rings) and Tim Hess (1993 floor exercise) have also earned All-America honors for the Falcons.

    Devin Menefee will be making his fourth straight appearance at the national championship meet this weekend. The senior team captain represented the Falcons as an individual competitor during his freshman (vault) and sophomore (still rings, vault) years, before competing with the team as a junior. In addition, James Okamoto will be making his third straight appearance, having competed as an individual (pommel horse) in 2010 and with the team in 2011.

    Under the National Qualifying Average (take the four highest scores, counting no more than two home meets, and replace the highest score with the conference championship score and average), Air Force is ranked among the nation's top 10 on the high bar (55.962, ninth). Individually, Devin Menefee is tied for 18th on the still rings (14.850), while James Okamoto is tied for 20th on the pommel horse (14.325).

    Air Force amassed a score of 335.950 to finish fourth at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships on April 7. Devin Menefee earned the Falcons' best finish of the night, as he placed sixth on the still rings (14.900) in his final home competition. Menefee was one of two top-10 finishers for Air Force on the rings, as Tyler Huebner tied for 10th with a 14.500. James Okamoto (14.100, eighth) and Greg Chaput (14.000, 10th) finished within the top 10 on the pommel horse, while Ben Zaiser and Mac Ritchie both finished 10th on the vault (14.600) and high bar (14.150), respectively.



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