The 10th-ranked Air Force men’s gymnastics team wraps up the 2017 campaign this weekend, as it travels to West Point, N.Y., for the NCAA Men’s National Collegiate Gymnastics Championships on April 21-22. The Falcons, who are making their seventh straight team appearance at the championship site, will open competition in the first of two National Qualifiers on Friday, April 21.
The 2017 NCAA Men’s National Collegiate Gymnastics Championships will be held at the Holleder Center on the campus of the United States Military Academy. Two national qualifying sessions will be held on Friday, April 21, while the team and individual event finals will take place on Saturday, April 22. All-session passes are $50, while single session tickets are $20 (all seating is general admission). The NCAA will offer live stats and video for all three sessions at ncaa.com (each apparatus will have its own feed).
LET’S MEET THE TEAMS
The afternoon session of the NCAA Qualifier will feature No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 6 Penn State, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 10 Air Force and No. 11 Michigan, while the evening session includes No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 4 Illinois, No. 5 Minnesota, No. 8 Iowa, No. 9 California and No. 12 Navy. In addition, event specialists from William and Mary, Illinois-Chicago, Springfield and Army West Point will compete in one of the two qualifying sessions.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
With a mark of 423.288, Stanford holds the highest National Qualifying Average of the first session and is ranked second in the national standings. Ohio State is ranked third with a NQA of 418.050, while Penn State and Nebraska are listed sixth (412.725) and seventh (411.938), respectively. Air Force is listed 10th with a NQA of 404.988, while Michigan rounds out the session with a No. 11 ranking and national qualifying average of 404.700. Individually, the NCAA leader in the all-around (Stanford’s Akash Modi) will compete in the first session.
AIR FORCE IN THE RANKINGS
Air Force is ranked 10th in the NCAA with a National Qualifying Average of 404.988. It is the fourth straight season that the Falcons have entered the NCAA Championships with that ranking. The Falcons are also listed among the nation’s top 10 on the still rings (eighth, 68.463) and pommel horse (ninth, 66.675). Individually, Tim Wang is ranked third in the all-around (83.775) and on the pommel horse (14.725) and holds the No. 7 placement on the vault (14.788) and the No. 12 spot on the still rings (14.213). Chase Cannon, Fletcher Braunton and Jonathon Fornoff are also listed among the nation’s top 20. Cannon is listed 17th on the high bar (14.050), while Braunton and Fornoff are listed 18th on the still rings (14.013) and parallel bars (14.150), respectively.
Air Force is making its seventh straight team appearance at the NCAA National Qualifier. Prior to the 2011 season, the Falcons hadn’t sent a full squad to any level of the national meet since 1998, when it qualified for the NCAA West Regional (the current national qualifier replaced the regional meets in 2000). Overall, Air Force has made 13 appearances at the NCAA Championships (1961-62-63-64-70-72-73, 2011-12-13-14-15-16), with its best finish (sixth) coming at the 1972 championship meet.
A total of 11 Falcons have claimed All-America status at the NCAA Championships, including Jim Weaver (1962 tumbling), Doug Reynolds (1964 tumbling), Terry Higgins (1966 parallel bars), Bill Ritter (1972 floor exercise), John Tomich (1973 vault), Joel Miller (1992 still rings), Tim Hess (1993 floor exercise), Greg Stine (2008 still rings, 2008 all-around), Tim Wang (2014 pommel horse, 2016 pommel horse), Denis Aurelius (2016 still rings) and Arinn Wade (2016 pommel horse).