Oct. 9, 2012
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. -The Air Force men's gymnastics team was selected 11th in the annual GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll, which was released on Oct. 9. The ranking, which marked the fifth straight season that the Falcons have earned a spot in the preseason standings, matched the highest placement ever for the Falcons in the coaches' poll.
The No. 11 ranking equaled the preseason ranking of the 2012 squad.
"I'm pleased with our preseason ranking," eighth-year head coach Kip Simonssaid. "This is the most dedicated, cohesive and talented group of athletes we've had at Air Force in many years. With hard work and precision planning, we'll break into the top 10."
The 2013 Air Force squad features an impressive lineup of talent, including a returning roster that has claimed the last three USAG national titles, the past two All-Academy titles and competed as a full squad in the last two NCAA National Qualifiers.
Individually, the Falcons return five USAG national champions in Tory Brown (2011 vault), James Okamoto (2011 pommel horse), Josh Ramos (2012 parallel bars), Mac Ritchie (2012 high bar) and Ben Zaiser(2012 vault), as well as four additional USAG All-Americans.
For the fifth straight year, Air Force has the highest preseason ranking of the three service academy programs, leading both Army (13th) and Navy (unranked). The Falcons will host the Black Knights on Saturday, Jan. 19, before facing both squads at the annual All-Academy Championships on Feb. 16.
GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Illinois (6 first-place votes)
2. Michigan (2)
3. Oklahoma (2)
4. Penn State (3)
5. Stanford (2)
8. Ohio State
11. Air Force
14. William and Mary
Illinois, the reigning NCAA champion, finished first in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll with six first-place votes, while the remaining nine first-place votes were split between the top five teams. Michigan claimed a pair of first-place votes and finished second, while defending Mountain Pacific Sports Federation champion Oklahoma was selected third with another pair of first-place nods. Backed by three-first-place votes, Penn State was picked fourth, while Stanford rounded out the preseason top five with the final two first-place choices.
Air Force opens the season on Saturday, Jan. 12, when it hosts the annual Rocky Mountain Open at the Academy's Cadet West Gym.