2006 -- A Season In Review
2006 AIR FORCE MEN'S GYMNASTICS -- A SEASON IN REVIEW
It was a difficult season for the Air Force men's gymnastics team. With a first-year head coach, numerous injuries, a grueling schedule and an underclassman-to-senior ratio of 7-to-1, the young Falcons struggled through a winless 2006 season.
Air Force was bitten by the injury-bug early in the preseason and forced to open Kip Simons' inaugural campaign down two of its top gymnasts in NCAA Qualifier Eric Peele and 2005 MVP Ryan Stromstad. As a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, Air Force repeatedly took on the nation's elite teams. The Falcons jumped right into the season, as they hosted the annual Rocky Mountain Open and the first of three meetings with top-ranked Oklahoma. The season continued for the Falcons, who posted a winless mark against NCAA varsity-level teams and a 1-9 slate against NCAA club-level programs. However, Air Force did make an impact on the national stage, as Moore and Boardman each qualified for the NCAA National Collegiate Gymnastics Championships.
Regardless of the overall outcome, the 2006 season provided a hopeful glimpse of the future. The season-best scores in all but one individual event came from an underclassman. Sophomore Brian Boardman led the team on the floor exercise and pommel horse, while classmate Tyler Sickles led the way on the high bar. Junior Kurt Antonio posted the team's top vault score, while freshman Andrew Terrell led the squad on the still rings. Despite all of the obstacles that were thrown at this young program, the improvement was noticed as the team and individual scores grew stronger each week.
RECAPPING THE SEASON
NCAA NATIONAL QUALIFIER: Brian Moore, competing in his final collegiate event, finished 13th in the first session of the NCAA Qualifying all-around with a combined total of 42.550. Contributing to his score was a 7.500 on the floor, a 6.400 on the pommel horse, a 6.800 on the still rings, an 8.150 on the vault, a 7.350 on the parallel bars and a 6.350 on the high bar. Making his first appearance on the national stage, Brian Boardman claimed a 7.650 on the parallel bars to tie for 35th on the event.
MOUNTAIN PACIFIC SPORTS FEDERATION CHAMPIONSHIPS: Brian Moore improved his season-best all-around total by nearly two points as he recorded a 47.050 to finish sixth. Moore led the Falcons on the pommel horse (7.650) and still rings (7.900), setting season-best scores in each. The Falcons' leaders for the other four events were underclassmen. Brian Boardman was the top-scoring Falcon on the floor exercise, earning an 8.050. Tyler Sickles scored an 8.175 on the parallel bars, while Jon Roberts posted a 7.850 on the high bar to finish 20th. Josiah Loeser, who hadn't competed since early March, scored an 8.600 on the vault to lead the squad.
NEBRASKA: Air Force closed out the regular season on March 19 with a 212.150-184.775 loss to Nebraska. Air Force's best finish of the afternoon was a fifth-place score of 7.900 on the still rings by Andrew Terrell. Kurt Antonio placed sixth on the event with a score of 7.750. Brian Boardman and Tyler Sickles each picked up sixth-place marks as the top-scoring Falcon on the pommel horse and high bar, respectively. Boardman scored a 7.350 on the pommel horse, while Sickles scored an 8.550 on the high bar. Boardman also led the Falcons on the floor exercise and vault, scoring an 8.500 and an 8.675, respectively. In addition, Sickles picked up the Falcons' best score on the parallel bars, with a 7.650 to finish seventh.
ILLINOIS-CHICAGO DUALS: Competing at home for the first time in nearly two months, Air Force dropped a pair of meets to Illinois-Chicago. On Friday (197.450-180.500), Brian Boardman and Tyler Sickles claimed third-place scores on the parallel bars (7.750) and high bar (8.300), respectively. In addition, Brian Moore led the team on Sunday (203.925-183.475) with three top-six finishes, including the pommel horse (7.450), parallel bars (7.700) and still rings (7.650). Boardman finished fourth on a pair of events, while Sickles and Jon Roberts claimed top-six marks on the high bar. Edwin Berry and Kurt Antonio also collected top-six marks on the pommel and parallel bars, respectively.
SOUTHWEST CUP: Air Force dropped a 181.650-177.900 decision to Arizona State during Southwest Cup action on March 5. Brian Moore was the runner-up in the all-around, scoring a 44.650. He registered the team's top score on the floor exercise, collecting a 7.700. Tyler Sickles also collected a pair of team-leading scores. He earned a 7.150 on the pommel horse to lead the team, while also posting an 8.000 on the high bar. Kurt Antonio had the team's top mark on the still rings after collecting a score of 7.700, while Andrew Terrell topped the team on the vault with a score of 8.400. Eric Peele, who made his season-debut after being sidelined with an injury, led the Falcons on the parallel bars with a mark of 7.700.
PETER VIDMAR INVITATIONAL: With a combined score of 45.000, Brian Moore won the all-around at the Peter Vidmar Invitational on March 2. As a team, the Falcons finished second of varsity-level teams and fourth overall with a score of 178.050. Contributing to his total was a ninth-place score of 7.750 on the high bar. He also posted a top-10 score of 7.650 on the parallel bars. Kurt Antonio finished fifth in the all-around with a total of 43.675. His 8.575 on the vault was good enough for seventh-place. Andrew Terrell earned a pair of top-10 marks, as he tied for eighth on the floor exercise with a 7.650 and tied for ninth on the vault with an 8.400. Tyler Sickers earned an 8.050 on the high bar to tie for seventh.
PACIFIC COAST CLASSIC: With two club teams and an international squad on the docket, Air Force recorded a 198.725-177.000 loss to fellow varsity-level team Temple, despite its overall fifth-place score. Brian Boardman led the team on two events, posting the Falcons' best totals on the floor exercise (8.500) and pommel horse (7.150). Andrew Terrell had the highest score on the still rings, tallying a 7.100, while also leading the way on the vault at 8.600. Brian Moore recorded a team-leading 7.450 on the parallel bars, while Tyler Sickles led the way on the high bar (8.250).
ALL-ACADEMY CHAMPIONSHIPS: Air Force finished third at the annual All-Academy Championships on Feb. 18 in Aliso Viejo, Calif. Army narrowly edged out Navy by a 200.750-200.700 margin to win its sixth straight title, while the Falcons tallied a 179.475 to finish third. Brian Boardman tallied the team's highest scores on the floor (8.000), pommel horse (7.250) and parallel bars (7,750), while Andrew Terrell topped the squad on the still rings (7.700) and vault (8.500). With a 7.650, Kurt Antonio led the way on the high bar.
ARMY DUALS: The Falcons continued to improve their season-best totals, as they took on Army in a pair of weekend dual-meets. On Friday night, the Falcons dropped a 205.550-181.250 decision to Army on Feb. 3. The Falcons' team score was nearly 10 points higher than their previous season best, set two weeks ago at Oklahoma. Air Force wrapped up the weekend on Feb. 5, with another season-high mark, posting a 183.900 in a loss to Army (207.100).
OKLAHOMA: Air Force dropped a 210.150-171.650 decision to No. 3 Oklahoma on Jan. 20. Brian Boardman and Kurt Antonio earned the team's top finish in a pair of events. Boardman took the team's top scores on the pommel horse (7.000) and parallel bars (7.450), while Antonio took top honors on the floor exercise (7.550) and still rings (7.600). Freshman Andrew Terrell led the team on the vault with an 8.600. Tyler Sickles led the team on the high bar with an 8.100.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN OPEN: The Falcons finished fifth in their annual meet with a team score of 170.050. Members from the Olympic Training Center won the 'open division' with a score of 205.600, while preseason favorite Oklahoma won the 'collegiate division' with a score of 208.850. As the lone competitor in the event finals, sophomore Brian Boardman collected a 7.700 on the floor exercise to finish ninth.