Air Force athletics honors top performers for 2008-09
May 26, 2009
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - The Air Force Academy athletic department concluded a very successful 2008-09 sports season recently and several cadet-athletes were recognized by the Academy at the individual awards ceremony. Sophomore hockey player Jacques Lamoureux and senior gymnast Abbey Rogers took home the most valuable male and female athlete, respectively. Senior cross country and track athlete Sean Houseworth won the athletic excellence award while senior lacrosse player Griffin Nevitt won the athletic leadership award. Senior hockey player Mike Phillipich won the scholar-athlete award while senior teammate Greg Flynn won the athletic achievement award.
A complete round up of the top six awards, highlights from each sport and the most valuable athlete from each sport follows below.
TOP SIX ATHLETIC AWARD WINNERS
Most Valuable Male Athlete: Sophomore Jacques Lamoureux became the second All-American in school history and was one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given annually to the nation's top collegiate hockey player. Lamoureux was named the Atlantic Hockey Association Player of the Year and was a first-team all-conference selection. He led the nation in goals (33), power-play goals (15) and game-winners (9). He spent the majority of the season as the nation's leader in points and finished second with 53 points in 41 games. In Air Force's 2-0 win over third-ranked Michigan in the NCAA East Regional, Lamoureux scored the second goal of the game and was named to the all-tournament team. The native of Grand Forks, N.D., was named the Hockey Commissioners' Association Player of the Month in October and was the AHA Player of the Week three times.
Most Valuable Female Athlete: Senior Abbey Rogers became just the third member of the program to earn MVP honors in multiple years. Rogers capped an amazing collegiate career with her second straight MPSF Gymnast of the Year award and three conference titles. The senior, who earned an invitation to the NCAA Regional Championships, paced the Falcons with four all-conference selections. She posted the squad's highest total of the year on every event, while collecting three MPSF Gymnast of the Week awards and 16 first-place finishes. The native of Pittsburgh, Pa., who upped her career-best scores in three of the four individual events, as well as the all-around, also received numerous academic awards. Rogers earned academic all-conference honors, a place on the USAG All-Academic Team and a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
Athletic Excellence Award: Sean Houseworth, the Most Valuable Athlete for both the men's track and field and cross country, had a remarkable senior season. During the cross country season, he paced the Falcons at the Mountain West Conference Championships, while earning all-conference and all-region honors. Houseworth continued to shine during the indoor season, earning two conference titles and the MWC High Point Award (the first-ever Falcon to claim that distinction). Houseworth became just the second runner in conference history to win the two longest races (3000- and 5000-meters) of the indoor meet. It was the second straight year he had won the 3000-meter race, clocking the fifth-fastest time in MWC history. His success continued as the team moved outdoors. Houseworth automatically qualified to the NCAA Championships in the 10,000-meter run, setting an Academy-record time at the prestigious Stanford Invitational. He was named the conference's Athlete of the Week following that performance, which ranked him eighth in the nation. Houseworth went on to claim all-conference accolades in the 5000-meter run after an impressive third-place finish.
Athletic Leadership Award: Senior lacrosse player Griffin Nevitt is a two-time preseason All-American, Nevitt earned all-conference honors in all four seasons with the Falcons, including first-team recognition in each of the past three years. He finished his career with 119 points, becoming just the second Air Force player in the past 10 years to reach 100 career points, while his 77 career goals are the most of any Falcon in the last 10 seasons. Air Force's best all-around player, contributing both offensively and defensively, Nevitt led the Falcons to their best season since 1997 to earn MVP honors. Although Air Force started the season with a 3-6 record, Nevitt was able to keep his teammates focused on their goals, as the team won four straight games to claim second place in the conference and a spot in the Great Western Lacrosse League tournament for the first time in program history.
Scholar-Athlete Award: Senior Mike Phillipich graduated with a 3.75 GPA as a systems engineering management major. He ranked second in his class out of 73 systems engineering management majors with a 3.90 major GPA. A four-time academic all-conference selection, Phillipich won the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award as the "nation's consummate team player." A two-year team captain, Phillipich was also one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, recognizing excellence in academics, athletics, character and leadership. The native of Lansing, Mich., earned the team's Vic Heyliger Award, which is voted on by the team and given to the player whose dedication, character, leadership and work ethic exemplify Falcon hockey. He also earned the team's Jim Bowman Award as the top scholar-athlete.
Athletic Achievement Award: Senior Greg Flynn became the first defenseman in school history to earn All-American honors. Flynn was a first-team all-Atlantic Hockey Association selection and was chosen as the league's best defenseman. He was the top scoring defenseman in the nation, averaging 1.02 points per game with seven goals and 42 points in 41 games. A native of Lino Lakes, Minn., Flynn was named to the all-tournament teams at the AHA Final Four and at the NCAA East Regional. He assisted on both goals in the 2-0 win over third-ranked Michigan in the NCAA Tournament. Flynn earned the team's Larry Cronk Award, which is voted on by the team, as the team's most inspirational player and was also named the team's best defenseman.
INDIVIDUAL SPORTS RECAPS
Football: Air Force finished with an 8-5 overall record and placed fourth in the Mountain West Conference with a 5-3 mark while qualifying for its second consecutive Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas. The Falcons became the only service academy to win eight or more regular season games and qualify for a bowl game in each of the first two seasons of a new head coach. Senior defensive end Jake Paulson earned first-team all-conference honors while earning a spot on the Hendrick's Award watch list as the nation's top defensive end. Freshman quarterback Tim Jefferson was named Mountain West Conference freshman of the year, becoming the first Falcon to ever earn the honor. Senior kicker Ryan Harrison was also a semifinalist for the Lou Groza National Placekicker Award.
Volleyball: The Air Force volleyball team finished the 2008 campaign with a 5-24 overall record, while remaining winless in conference action at 0-16. The Falcons, who played all but 10 of their 29 matches at Clune Arena, hosted three tournaments, as well as all eight Mountain West Conference opponents. Air Force did claim three individual "set" wins during the MWC slate, which is the most in conference play since 2005. Freshman Victoria Martinez highlighted the Falcons' season, moving into fourth on the program's Division I single-season digs list with 284 - the most by an Air Force player since 1999.
Water Polo: The Air Force water polo team finished the 2008 season with a 17-15 overall record and 10-5 mark in the Western Water Polo Association. The Falcons, who ended the year ranked 20th in the nation, captured sixth place at the WWPA Championship. The final record of 17-15 gives Air Force its 24th winning campaign in program history, while the Falcons' 17 wins match the highest win total for Air Force since the 2003 season.
Women's Soccer: The Air Force women's soccer team finished the 2008 season with a 3-14 record. The Falcons went 0-7 in Mountain West Conference play, finishing in seventh place. Air Force posted wins over Long Island, Grambling State and service academy rival Army. The Falcons posted season-high's of three goals against Army and Grambling State. Freshman forward/midfielder Bridgett Murphy led the Falcons with six goals and 12 points on the year. The freshman was also named to the all-MWC team.
Men's Soccer: Air Force posted a 5-13 overall record and a 3-7 mark in the MPSF in 2008. Team MVP Steve Noller led the team with nine points, scoring four goals and adding one assist. He became the first Air Force player since 1996 to score a goal in four straight games. Fellow junior and co-captain Kevin Rosser was second with seven points (one goal and five assists) and freshman Zach Brinlee finished third with six points on two goals and two assists. The future looks bright for Air Force, as the nine players that recorded at least one point during the season will all return in 2009.
Cross Country: Despite a coaching change early in the season, the Air Force cross country team had another strong year. The men placed second at the Mountain West Conference Championships and fifth at the NCAA Regional Championships, while the women placed sixth and 13th under new coach Juli Henner. Sean Houseworth, Matt Williams and Zach Nordahl were named to the all-conference team, while Williams and Houseworth claimed all-region accolades. Over the course of the season, four Falcons - junior Brittany Morreale, senior Sebastian Ortiz, senior Scott Balcao and freshman Phaelen French - were honored as MWC Athlete of the Week. That total tied a program record for the most weekly awards in a single season for the Falcons. Balcao became just the third Air Force runner to claim more than one MWC award in a career.
Hockey: The Air Force hockey team again reached new heights in the 2008-09 season. The Falcons won their first ever conference regular season championship and then won their third straight Atlantic Hockey Association title, earning another bid to the NCAA Tournament. At the tournament, Air Force earned its first ever NCAA win with a 2-0 shutout over third-ranked Michigan in the East Regional. A double overtime loss to 10th-ranked Vermont, on a reviewed goal, ended the Falcons' season just one shot short of a trip to the NCAA Frozen Four. Air Force finished the season with a 28-11-2 overall record and a 20-6-2 mark in the AHA. The 28 wins set a new school record. The Falcons were ranked as high as 10th during the season and defeated third ranked Colorado College for the first time in 24 years. Center Jacques Lamoureux, the Player of the Year in the AHA, led the nation in goals, was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award and earned All-American honors. Defenseman Greg Flynn was the top scoring defenseman in the nation and was also an All-American selection. Goaltender Andrew Volkening broke his own school records in every statistical category.
Men's Basketball: Jeff Reynolds anticipated that his second campaign as head coach of the Air Force men's basketball team was going to be a struggle; a relatively inexperienced team in a senior-dominated conference. But nobody, including Reynolds, could have imagined the season would turn out the way it did. After a 9-3 start, a 67-64 loss to Stony Brook at home on New Year's Eve started the longest losing streak in the history of the program, 17 games. The streak ended on March 11, 2009, when the Falcons won their first-ever Mountain West Conference Tournament game and first conference tournament game since 1990 (16 games), 71-67, over Colorado State in the first round. Air Force finished the '08-09 campaign with a 10-21 overall record and was winless (0-16) in conference play for the first time in program history.
Women's Basketball: The women's basketball team finished the 2008-09 season with a 4-26 record. The Falcons went 0-16 in Mountain West Conference play, finishing in ninth place. Air Force posted wins over Chadron State, Barry, North Carolina Central and Navy. Sophomore guard Raimee Beck led Air Force in scoring and three-point shooting, averaging 12.9 points per game and hitting 72 three's. Her 386 points also tied a school record for most points in a season in the Division I era. Senior center Kim Kreke finished second in the conference, averaging 9.3 rebounds per game and posting 43 blocked shots. Her 278 rebounds and 43 blocks are Air Force Division I-era records.
Men's Gymnastics: The Air Force men's gymnastics team concluded another impressive season, accounting for two Academy records and five USAG All-American honorees. Senior Jake Schonig, who earned the USAG Outstanding Senior award and successfully defended his national title on the still rings, was one of nine finalists for the Nissen-Emery award, which is designated to the nation's top senior gymnast. The Falcons' youngest members highlighted much of the success in 2009, accounting for two program records and three of the five USAG All-America honors. Jacob Houder set the program standard in the pommel horse at 14.200, while classmates Joel Uptmor and Devin Menefee both rewrote the program standard on the vault, with Menefee concluding the season with the top mark of 15.850. Air Force sent six of its gymnasts to the NCAA Championships, highlighted by sophomore Aaron Zaiser's multiple appearances in the floor exercise and vault. Houder (pommel horse), Menefee (vault) and Schonig (still rings) joined sophomore Nash Mills (all-around) and senior Josiah Loeser (still rings) at the national meet. As a club, the Falcons set Academy records on the pommel horse (55.100) and vault (61.750), while upping the team total to 342.500.
Women's Gymnastics: Paced by senior Abbey Rogers, the Air Force women's gymnastics team continued to improve in 2009. In addition to claiming her second MPSF Gymnast of the Year award, Rogers became the first Academy gymnast to win a conference title, taking three (balance beam, floor exercise, all-around) at the annual meet. Rogers and freshman Jenna Dudley were invited to the NCAA Regional Championships, while Dudley (all-around) and junior Aftan Boudreaux (uneven bars) earned USAG All-America accolades at the national meet. The Falcons collected nine wins on the year, five more than they had earned in the past three years combined. Air Force was an impressive 4-1 at home during the regular season and finished just 1.775 points out of first at the conference championships. Rogers, the team MVP for the second straight year, was the recipient of the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship - the first gymnast to ever receive that distinction.
Fencing: Air Force concluded the regular season with an overall 23-14 dual-meet record (.622) and with three fencers who qualified for the NCAA National Championships. Junior Peter French, sophomore Daniel Trapani and freshman Simone Barrette all qualified in men's and women's epee at the 2009 NCAA Western Regional Championships with French winning the championship and Trapani finishing third. Both went on to earn second-team all-American honors at the national meet.
Rifle: The rifle team concluded the season with a 5-11 overall record. Sophomore Tom Chandler led the team and become the first Falcon since 2006 to qualify for the NCAA championships. Chandler went on to earn All-American honors in the small bore.
Boxing: The Air Force boxers finished third at the NCBA National Championships and were the 2009 NCBA Regional Team Champions (29th time in 30 years). The Falcons earned three gold and four bronze medals at the NCBA national championships (NCBA All-America status); three NCBA national champions and eight NCBA regional championships. Air Force won the NCBA regional title during 29 of the last 30 years and crowned 102 individual national champions and 284 All-America honorees. The boxing team's individual highlights included Matt DeMars (112) and Boyce Loomis (185) winning their first national titles. Jesse Horton (119) won his second NCBA title.
Wrestling: With the challenge of replacing six graduated starters, the Air Force wrestling team faced a rebuilding season in 2008-09. The Falcons also battled injuries throughout the year, including a season-ending injury for returning conference champion Tyler French, before finishing the season with a 4-12 overall record and 1-5 mark in the Western Wrestling Conference. Despite the team's struggles, the Falcons saw outstanding performances by some of its individuals, including two-time NCAA Regional runner-up and team MVP Stephen Crozier.
Men's Swimming and Diving: After compiling a solid 7-12 dual record and 1-4 mark in the MWC, the 2008-09 Air Force men's swimming and diving team was most impressive at the Mountain West Conference Championships. With a second-place showing, the Falcons posted their best MWC finish since 2004. Air Force brought home two individual conference titles (Benjamin Gunn in the 200 IM and Kyle Van Valkenburg in the platform dive) and set eight new school records at the meet, including program-best marks in four of the five relay events. In addition, Air Force completely rewrote its record book over the season, with a total of 33 new individual top-10 marks.
Women's Swimming and Diving: The 2008-09 women's swimming and diving team finished the year with a 6-14 dual record and 0-8 mark in the Mountain West Conference, while placing ninth at the MWC Championships. However, despite the team's overall record, the Falcons made great strides, led by senior all-conference performer Jane Hwang, who posted new school records in four events (100 free, 200 free, 200 IM and 400 free relay). As a whole, the Falcons recorded new Air Force top-10 marks in 10 events. Meanwhile, the divers were led by junior Chelsea Tompkins, who received all-MWC accolades in the platform dive.
Indoor Track and Field: The Air Force track and field team concluded an indoor season that featured one NCAA All-American, two Mountain West Conference champions (in three events), one MWC High Point Award winner, three Academy records and 26 incursions into the program's all-time record book. Nick Frawley broke the Academy's pole vault record, becoming just the third Falcon to clear the 18-foot mark. The junior also picked up All-America honors following a seventh-place finish at the national championships. Senior Sean Houseworth won MWC titles in the 3000- and 5000-meter races, en route to claiming the league's High Point Award, while classmate Kellen Curry picked up the conference title in the 200-meter dash. On the women's side, juniors Ally Romanko (800-meter run) and Sara Neubauer (shot put) respectively rewrote their own Academy records, while Neubauer (weight throw) and classmate Danielle McCarty (pentathlon) collected the second-best marks in program history.
Baseball: The Air Force baseball team finished the 2009 season with a 14-37 record. The Falcons went 3-18 in Mountain West Conference play, finishing in seventh place. Air Force posted key non-conference wins over Navy, Charleston Southern, Utah Valley and Northern Colorado. In addition, Air Force defeated BYU and UNLV in MWC play. The win at BYU was the first by Falcon baseball in Provo since 2002. Air Force batted .291 and hit 57 home runs as a team, the most since the 2003 team. Junior designated hitter Matt Alexander led the Falcons in nearly every hitting category, batting .383 with 15 homers and 65 RBIs, all the highest totals since 2003. Alexander was also one of 16 semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, given to the top collegiate baseball player in the nation.
Lacrosse: The Air Force lacrosse team had a successful 2009 season, posting a 7-7 overall ledger and 4-1 mark in the GWLL, earning its first trip to the Great Western Lacrosse League tournament. The seven wins were the most for Air Force since 2006, with the best winning percentage since 1997, while the four GWLL wins were a school record. The Falcons' second-place GWLL finish matches their best in the 16-year history of the league. In addition, the Falcons' six all-conference selections (including three first-team honorees) were a school record, while freshman Dayton Gilbreath became the first Air Force player to earn GWLL Newcomer of the Year accolades.
Golf: The Air Force golf team had a solid season in 2008-09, finishing eighth at the Mountain West Conference Championship, marking the Falcons' best conference finish since the MWC moved to nine teams during the 2005-06 season. In addition to a second-place finish at the Ron Moore Intercollegiate, the Falcons turned in a score of 855 at the Desert Shootout in March, ranking as the third-lowest team score in school history. Meanwhile, junior Tom Whitney won a pair of individual titles during the season, setting school records for lowest 18-hole, 36-hole and 54-hole individual scores, earned all-conference honors and was selected to compete at the 2009 NCAA South Central Regional.
Men's Tennis: Led by freshman and team most valuable player Cody Hall, the Air Force men's tennis team went 7-18 overall in 2009, including an 0-5 mark against Mountain West Conference opponents. Hall led the team with 16 overall singles wins and was the only Falcon in the regular lineup to post a winning record at 16-12. He also led the squad with 12 dual-match wins, including an 11-9 record at the No. 2 spot. With just one senior on the team, the Falcons' '08-09 lineup should return intact next season for head coach Rich Gugat, who has a career record of 730-268 in his 35 seasons as head coach, good for No. 3 on the list for career wins by active Division I coaches.
Women's Tennis: With just one senior and one junior on the roster in 2008-09, the Air Force women's tennis team played several young players at top-end positions, giving them valuable experience for the next couple of years. Those young players helped the Falcons win 10 matches for just the second time in the last five seasons. Air Force finished the season with a 10-17 overall record and an 0-8 mark in the Mountain West Conference. Sophomores Christen Monreal and Sarah Cassman tied for the team lead with 22 overall singles wins, the second consecutive 20-win season for Monreal.
Track and Field: The Falcons' outdoor season proved as successful as the indoor season, highlighted by one conference champion, three Academy records, 35 additions to the record book, one automatic qualifier to the national championships and 18 regional qualifiers. Senior Skylar Morgan claimed a conference title in the decathlon, while sophomore Noah Palicia finished second. The men successfully defended their team title at the Front Range Classic, backed by six event titles. On the women's side, Air Force posted its highest point-total ever at the conference championships, en route to an impressive seventh-place finish. The Falcons claimed five all-conference selections - the most ever for the women's team. Scoring for Air Force in all four throwing events, junior Sara Neubauer highlighted championship weekend with two program records (shot put, hammer throw). Action continues for the Falcons at the NCAA Regional Championships (May 29-30) and NCAA National Championships (June 10-13).
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARDS
Men's Cross Country: Senior Sean Houseworth, cadet squadron 24, posted the Falcons' top times at the Pre-National Meet and the Mountain West Conference Championships. He finished within the top third (64 out of 267) at the Pre-Nationals Meet with an 8K time of 24:35 and earned all-conference first team honors with a seventh-place finish (24:51) at the MWC Championships. His time of 2435 at the Pre-NCAA meet was the best 8K time by any Air Force runner this season.
Women's Cross Country: In addition to earning the team's MVP award, junior Katie Lynch, cadet squadron 38, was also selected as the recipient of the women's Most Improved Award. Lynch, who competed in the first cross country meet of her career on Sept. 13, 2008, in San Diego, was the Falcons' top finisher at the Pre-Nationals Meet, MWC Championships and NCAA Regional Championships. Lynch finished 168th at the Pre-Nationals Meet (22:30), 21st at the conference meet (22:29) and 44th at the regional meet (21:42). Her regional meet of 21:42 is the Falcons' fastest of the season.
Football Overall MVP: Junior defensive back Chris Thomas established himself as one of the top all-around players in the Mountain West Conference, earning second-team all-conference honors and first-team all-Colorado honors by the National Football Foundation. Thomas recorded his second straight 100-plus tackle season with 107, including a team-best 66 unassisted. He was among the league leaders with 9.0 tackles for loss for 44 yards, 4.0 sacks for 33 yards and a conference-leading four fumble recoveries. He also forced two fumbles and had an interception. Thomas recorded a career-high 17 tackles vs. BYU and set an Armed Forces Bowl single-game record with 16 vs. Houston.
Football Most Valuable Offensive Player: Senior tight end Travis Dekker finished second on the team in receiving with 13 catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns, despite missing the first four games of the season due to a broken ankle. The impact of his return was felt immediately, as he hauled in a team-best three catches for 32 yards in his first game back vs. Navy. Dekker caught at least one pass in each game that he played in and averaged 9.9 yards per catch.
Football Most Valuable Defensive Player: Senior defensive end Jake Paulson led the Falcons and ranked among the leaders in the Mountain West Conference in tackles for loss with 14.5 for 72 yards and quarterback sacks with 9.0 for 60 yards. He also had two fumble recoveries, returning one for a score to record the first touchdown by an Air Force defensive lineman since Bryce Fisher in 1997. Paulson also forced a fumble recorded a safety and had two pass breakups. A first-team all-conference selection, Paulson was on the midseason watch list for the Hendrick's Award, which goes annually the top defensive end in the nation.
Football Most Valuable Lineman/Special Teams Player: Senior kicker Ryan Harrison established himself as one of the best kickers in school history. Harrison set a school record with 24 field goals this season, breaking the mark of 19 he shared with Dave Lawson (1974) and Dave Adams (2000). Harrison, who is second all-time at the Academy with 43 career field goals, was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza National Placekicker Award and was a second-team all-Mountain West Conference selection. He finished second in the conference in scoring with an 8.3 per-game scoring average. Harrison led the league and ranked third in the nation in field goals with a 1.85 average per game.
Men's Soccer: Junior Steven Noller started 17 of 18 games in 2008 and led the team in scoring with nine points on four goals and one assist. Noller, from cadet squadron 25, scored is four goals in four consecutive games, becoming the first Air Force player to score a goal in four straight games since Ryan Schaeffer during the 1996 season. He was second on the team in total shots with 32 and led the squad with 16 shots on goal. Two of his four goals were game-winners. Noller earned second-team all-MPSF honors in 2008.
Women's Soccer: Senior goalkeeper Erin Wallace was named team MVP. A four year starter, Wallace played in nine games, recording 24 saves in 517 minutes and posted at 2.36 goals-against average. The senior was the winning goalkeeper in Air Force's wins over Army and Grambling State. She allowed one-or-fewer goals in five matches and had a season-high seven saves against BYU. Water Polo: Junior goalkeeper David Ostrom, a second-team all-WWPA Tournament selection, ended the year with 243 saves, ranking 16th in the nation in that statistical category. He also helped lead a defense that ranked 10th in the nation in goals allowed per game at 8.19.
Volleyball: Senior Jasamine Pettie served as team captain for the second consecutive season. A member of the all-tournament team at the Air Force Labor Day Invitational, Pettie led the team with 2.23 kills per set and was ranked second with a .166 hitting percentage.
Men's Basketball: Anwar Johnson, a senior guard from St. Gabriel, La., finished second on the team in scoring at 11.9 points per game and led the team with 76 assists. He earned all-tournament honors at the Golden Bear Classic in December when he averaged 12 points and four rebounds in the Falcons' games against Portland and Dartmouth. Johnson scored a career-high 25 points against Stony Brook on Dec. 31 and notched a game-high 24 points in his final collegiate game against BYU at the MWC Championships. He started all 31 games despite playing with a stress reaction in his right foot for the last two months this season.
Women's Basketball: Sophomore guard Raimee Beck was the team MVP for the women's basketball team in 2008-09. Beck led the team in scoring, averaging 12.9 points per game. Beck led the Mountain West Conference, averaging 36.6 minutes played per game. Her 72 three-point baskets ranked second in the conference and her 386 points tied a school record for single season points in the Div. I era. Beck hit eight consecutive three-point baskets against North Carolina Central on Dec. 5, 2008, which was one shy of the NCAA record. Over a three-game stretch, Beck hit 12 consecutive three's, which was two shy of the NCAA record.
Men's Fencing: Sophomore Daniel Trapani was the fencing team's leading fencer throughout the 2008-2009 fencing season. At the 2009 NCAA West Regional Championships, Trapani earned all-region honors with his NCAA qualifying third-place finish. The native of Houston, Texas, made his first appearance at the NCAA Division I Fencing Championships, in March, finishing in fifth place to earned second-team All-American honors. Trapani has a career dual-meet record of 79-15 (.839) at the Academy.
Women's Fencing: Freshman Simone Barrette was the team's top female competitor throughout the year. Barrette, from Louisville, Ky., earned all-region honors at the NCAA West Regionals with an NCAA qualifying finish of third place. She made her first trip to the NCAAs in March, and finished in 23rd place. In her first collegiate season, Barrette amassed an impressive 28-6 dual-meet record (.824). She was the Falcons' top female finisher in the 2008 Nick Toth Open, Falcon Open, New Mexico Open, NCAA Regionals and the Notre Dame dual meet.
Men's Gymnastics: Freshman Jacob Houder had a stellar rookie campaign, en route to his MVP award. In addition to setting an Academy record on the pommel horse, Houder earned a pair of USAG All-America accolades and a selection to the NCAA Championships. He posted the Falcons' highest scores of the season on the pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar, while claiming three event titles on the parallel bars and one on the pommel horse. Even after just one season, Houder's name already dots the Falcons' all-time scoring list. He has at least a share of eight of the nine highest marks in program history on the pommel horse. The native of Pinehurst, Texas, became the first freshman in the 53-year history of the Falcons' program to earn the program's highest honor.
Women's Gymnastics: Senior Abbey Rogers became just the third member of the program to earn MVP honors in multiple years. Rogers capped an amazing collegiate career with her second straight MPSF Gymnast of the Year award and three conference titles. The senior, who earned an invitation to the NCAA Regional Championships, paced the Falcons with four all-conference selections. She posted the squad's highest total of the year on every event, while collecting three MPSF Gymnast of the Week awards and 16 first-place finishes. The native of Pittsburgh, Pa., who upped her career-best scores in three of the four individual events, as well as the all-around, also received numerous academic awards. Rogers earned academic all-conference honors, a place on the USAG All-Academic Team and a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
Hockey: Junior Andrew Volkening was selected as the hockey team's most valuable player as voted on by his teammates. Volkening was a first-team all-Atlantic Hockey Association selection and was named to the all-tournament teams at the AHA Final Four and the NCAA East Regional. He finished the season ranked second in the nation in wins with 28, third with six shutouts, sixth in the nation in goals-against average at 1.97 and 19th in saves percentage at .920. Volkening, a Genoa, Ill., native, set school records in all four of those categories. Volkening set a new league record with back-to-back shutout wins over Bentley and Mercyhurst in the AHA Final Four. He then made a season-high 43 saves in a 2-0 shutout win over third-ranked Michigan in the NCAA Tournament. His 262 consecutive shutout minutes set a new school record and nearly doubled the previous mark vs. Division I teams.
Rifle: Sophomore Tom Chandler earned second-team All-American honors in small bore while qualifying for the NCAA championships. Chandler is the first Falcon to earn an NCAA berth since 2006. He recorded his season-best performance at the Nevada, Reno matches with a 587/600.
Boxing: Senior Boyce Loomis, the Falcons' team captain during the 2008-09 season, claimed his first National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA) title at 185 pounds, while posting an impressive 10-1 overall record. The senior, who posted a perfect 4-0 run through the regional and national championship bouts, was the Academy's Boxer of the Week on three occasions. During his final season, Loomis won four bouts by knockout, including an impressive first-round victory in the Wing Open Championships. For his career, he compiled a 21-5 overall record, a perfect 10-0 ledger against fellow cadets, three Wing Open titles, two NCBA regional titles and one NCBA national championship belt.
Men's Swimming: Sophomore Benjamin Gunn was named the men's swimming and diving MVP for the 2008-09 season. Gunn set school records and earned all-conference honors in each of his six events at the Mountain West Conference Championships. Gunn won the first conference title of his career with a win in the 200 IM, shattering the previous Air Force record by more than a second. He also finished fourth in the 200 butterfly and sixth in the 100 butterfly, while swimming on three of the Falcons' four relays which set new school records: the second-place 800 freestyle relay and 400 medley relay and the third-place 400 freestyle relay.
Women's Swimming: Senior Jane Hwang was named the 2008-09 MVP for the women's swimming and diving team. An all-conference selection for the third-straight year in both the 100 and 200 freestyle events, Hwang set school records in three individual events at the MWC Championships (100 free, 200 free and 200 IM). The recipient of the MWC's Senior Recognition Award, Hwang also anchored the school record-setting 400 freestyle relay and moved up in the school record books in the 100 breaststroke. Hwang closes out her career with Academy top-10 times in six individual events (also ranking in the top 10 in the 200 butterfly and 200 breaststroke).
Wrestling: Senior captain Stephen Crozier was named the Air Force wrestling MVP for the 2008-09 season. Crozier, wrestling at both 165 and 174 during the year, closed out the season with a 25-16 overall ledger and 11-5 mark in dual action. He led the Falcons in total wins for the second-straight season, while also leading Air Force in win percentage. Crozier also earned all-conference honors for the third-consecutive year, garnering second-team All-WWC accolades following his runner-up performance at the 2009 NCAA West Regional.
Baseball: Junior designated hitter/first baseman Matt Alexander was the team MVP for the Air Force baseball team in 2009. Alexander led Air Force in nearly all hitting categories, batting .383 with 15 homers, 19 doubles, 53 runs, 65 RBIs and 82 hits. Alexander led the Mountain West Conference in homers and RBIs during the regular season. Alexander cracked the Air Force single-season top 10 in home runs (seventh), RBIs (fourth) and hits (third). Alexander picked up several accolades on the season, earning MWC Player of the Week, Collegiate Baseball News Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week and College Baseball Foundation National All-Star Lineup. Alexander's biggest honor was being named one of 16 finalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, given to the top collegiate baseball player in the nation.
Lacrosse: Senior Griffin Nevitt was named the MVP for the 2009 lacrosse team. A four-year starter on both attack and midfield, team captain in 2009 and two-time preseason All-American, Nevitt has earned all-conference honors in all four seasons with the Falcons, including first-team recognition in each of the past three years. He finished his career with 119 points, becoming just the second Air Force player in the past 10 years to reach 100 career points, while his 77 career goals are the most of any Falcon in the last 10 seasons.
Golf: Senior captain Shaun O'Bryant was named the Air Force golf MVP for the 2008-09 season. One of the Falcons' most consistent golfers, O'Bryant played in every tournament for Air Force this season. His stroke average of 74.8, a career-best, was the second-lowest on the team. O'Bryant's top finish came at the season-opening Falcon Invitational, where he carded a one-over-par 217 to tie for 12th in the individual standings, while his three-round total of 214 (-2) at the Desert Shootout in March was a season low.
Men's Tennis: Freshman Cody Hall led the Falcons with 16 overall singles wins in 2008-09 and was the only Falcon in the regular lineup to post a winning record at 16-12. He also led the squad with 12 dual-match wins, including an 11-9 record at the No. 2 spot. He was the only Falcon to win a dual singles match in conference play, defeating Graeme Kassautzki, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7), in a three-hour match at the Academy for Air Force's first MWC singles victory since the 2005-06 season. Hall had also won the first set and was up in a second-set tiebreaker in the No. 2 match against TCU when the match was suspended due to rain.
Women's Tennis: Senior Christine Abayan played the majority of the season in 2008-09 at No. 1 singles. She tied for the team lead with two singles victories against MWC opponents, winning the No. 2 match against Utah and 46th-ranked UNLV. She posted 55 career singles wins and 70 career doubles wins in her four years at Air Force.
Men's Track and Field: Sean Houseworth had a stellar senior season year, winning a pair of conference titles and setting another Academy record. Houseworth, who was also the MVP of the cross country team, won conference titles in the two longest distances of the indoor championships (the 3000- and 5000-meter events) and the MWC High Point Award. He is the only Falcon to earn the award as the meet's top-scoring performer. In addition to defending his title in the 3000-meter run, Houseworth moved into the conference record book with the fifth-fastest time in MWC meet history. His success continued in the outdoor season, as he automatically qualified to the national meet in the 10,000-meter run with an Academy record time. Houseworth, who earned MWC Athlete of the Week honors in March, went on claim all-conference accolades in the 5000-meter run at the MWC outdoor championships.
Women's Indoor Track and Field: Junior Sara Neubauer, last year's MVP, continues to rewrite the Academy record books. Making her debut in a pair of events, she is now listed in the top-10 of every throwing event. During the indoor season, Neubauer broke her own record in the shot put, while recording the program's second-best weight throw distance in just her first year of throwing the implement. Her success continued in the outdoor season, as she set two more Academy standards. In just her first year of throwing the hammer, she tallied set a new program record at the Mountain West Conference Championships. The very next day she upped her own record in the shot put, while moving into eighth in the javelin throw records. Additionally, she bettered her second-place standing on the discus throw's all-time list. Highlighted by all-conference honors in the shot put and discus throw, Neubauer became the first athlete to score in all four throwing events at the conference meet.
Men's Track and Field Outstanding Competitor: Senior Kellen Curry picked up the first conference title of his career, winning the 200-meter dash at the MWC indoor championships. He also earned indoor all-conference accolades with a runner-up finish in the 60-meter hurdles at that meet. Once the outdoor season began, Curry qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships in the 200-meter dash and 110-meter hurdles. He moved into third on the Academy's all-time list in the 200-meter dash, while finishing fifth in that event at the MWC Outdoor Championships. He was the runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles and ran the final leg of the all-conference 4x100-meter relay team that finished third.
Women's Track and Field Outstanding Competitor: Junior Ally Romanko has become a leader on the track, earning all-conference accolades in the outdoor 800-meter run for the second straight season. Romanko improved her Academy record time in the 800-meter race during the indoor season, besting the second-fastest time by nearly a second. Once the outdoor season commenced, Romanko improved her time in a pair of events. She clocked the second-fastest 800-meter time in program history, while remaining in the top-10 in the 1500-meter run. She finished third in the 800 at the conference championships, qualified to the regional championships in that event and ran a leg of the 4x400-meter relay that clocked the third-best time in program history.