May 6, 2008
USAFA, Colo. -
The Air Force water polo team concluded its spring season with three wins and a heartbreaking loss to the Alumni. The Falcons defeated Denver Masters, 11-9, New Mexico, 13-8, and Denver Masters/Alumni, 16-10, before falling to the Alumni, 10-8.
With one of the largest Alumni turnouts (17 players) and one of the most talented teams in recent history, the Alumni came back from a four-goal deficit in the fourth period to beat the Varsity squad, 10-8. The game was scoreless after one period, while the Varsity took a 4-2 lead after two quarters. The Falcons extended their 7-4 advantage at the end of three periods before the Alumni responded with a 6-1 final period.
Scoring for the Alumni were 2007 MVP Justin Berry and assistant coach Kirk Reimer with four goals each, while 2007 NCAA All-American Clark Condict and 2006 graduate Matt LeBlanc added one goal apiece. Meanwhile, scoring for the Varsity against the Alumni were sophomore Jack Hines with four goals, freshman Bobby Geiger with two goals and sophomore Jason Fung and junior Tyler Hewko with one goal each.
The Alumni squad outshot the Varsity 28-27 in the game, while winning three of the four sprints to start each quarter. The Alumni also scored on 1-of-4 opportunities in the man-up category while the Air Force Varsity was 0-for-2. Goalie David Ostrom had seven saves for the Falcons while 2001 graduate Charlie Toth and 2005 graduate Jared Jones combined for eight saves in the goal for the Alumni.
In other action on the weekend, Air Force saw three goals each from Hewko and Hines in its win over Denver Masters. Junior Kevin Williams
added two goals, while Fung and freshmen Matt Shields
and Andrew Strawbridge
added a goal apiece. Versus New Mexico, the Falcons were led by five goals from Shields. Hines, Hewko and Fung all scored two goals each, while Williams and freshman Mark Beeman
tallied the final scores for Air Force. Against a combined Denver Masters/Air Force Alumni team, Williams was the leading scorer for the Falcons with four goals. Shields and Fung each added three scores, Hines and Hewko notched two goals each, and Geiger and Strawbridge added the final tallies.
Representing the Air Force Alumni were:
Dr. Keith Limbird. A 1982 graduate and team captain in 1981, Limbird is currently practicing medicine in Colorado Springs.
Jeff Heidmous. A 1977 graduate, Heidmous was the team captain and MVP in 1976 and served as the Falcons' head coach from 1981-1998. Currently, Heidmous is the assistant vice athletic director at the Academy.
Maj. John Christ. A 1996 graduate, Christ was the team captain and MVP in 1995. He was an All-American and All-Academic team selection in 1995 and silver medalist at the 1995 U.S. Olympic Festival. Christ, who has served three years as the team's officer representative, is currently a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Also in attendance were Christ's wife, Melisa, and four children.
Dr. Kyle Torke. Torke, a member of three national teams while a swimmer at Grinnell College, is in his third year as offficer representative and eligibility chairman for the Air Force water polo team. Currently a professor in the Academy's English department, Torke was accompanied by his wife and three sons.
Capt. Charlie Toth. A 2001 graduate and team captain in 2000, Toth was an All-American and All-Academic team selection for the Falcons. Toth, Air Force's career leader with 257 steals, is currently the assistant men's swimming coach at the Academy and is married to Alessa.
Capt. David Breitenbach. A 2002 graduate, Breitenbach was an All-Academic team selection at the Academy. He is currently an F-16 pilot stationed at Monterey Language School, training to become an exchange pilot with the Italian Air Force.
Chas Horn. A 2003 graduate, Horn was a first-team all-conference selection at the Academy. He is currently a captain serving in the Air Force Reserves as an intelligence officer and is a Swiss broker for UBS Financial Services.
Lt. Kirk Reimer. A 2004 graduate, Reimer was an all-conference and academic all-conference selection at the Academy. He is currently the assistant water polo coach at the Academy and was accompanied by his wife, Amanda.
Lt. Jared Jones. A 2005 graduate, Jones was the team captain in 2004 and earned numerous team accolades, including Most Inspirational, Hardest Worker and Defensive Player of the Year. Jones is currently an ICBM combat crew commander at Malstrom AFB, Mont.
Lt. Chris Nary. A 2005 graduate, Nary was a three-time All-Academic selection. He is currently a C-17 pilot stationed at McChord AFB, Wash.
Lt. Eric Swenson. A 2005 graduate, Swenson served as the team's weightlifting captain in his senior season. He is currently an F-16 "Viper" pilot stationed at Luke AFB, Ariz., and was accompanied by his wife, Katie.
Lt. Peter Larsen. A 2006 graduate, Larsen was the recipient of the Hardest Worker Award and inaugural Derek Argel Memorial Award. He is currently stationed at Edwards AFB, Calif., training to become an astronaut.
Lt. Matt LeBlanc. A 2007 graduate, LeBlanc was a team captain and winner of the Golden Elvis award. He is currently attending Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) at Columbus AFB, Miss.
Justin Berry. A member of the class of 2008, Berry was co-captain and MVP of the 2007 squad. An all-conference selection and two-time offensive player of the year, Berry will be attending SUPT at Columbus AFB, Miss., upon his graduation.
Damon Jones. A member of the class of 2008, Jones was a starter for the Falcons in 2007. Following graduation, he will work as an analyst stationed at Nellis AFB, Nev.
Clark Condict. A member of the class of 2008, Condict was a third-team All-American in 2007. The co-captain, all-conference selection and two-time offensive player of the year will be attending SUPT at Pensacola NAS, Fla., following his graduation.
Chris Pace. A member of the class of 2008, Pace was a three-time recipient of the Hardest Worker Award, as well as the winner of the Derek Argel Memorial Award and an NSCA Strength and Conditioning All-American. After graduation, he will be attending SUPT at Laughlin AFB, Texas.
The Falcons' coaching staff would like to thank the following people for helping make the 2008 Alumni weekend a success: Mr. LeBlanc for barbecuing for the Alumni group; the Larsen family for providing breakfast bagels for the teams; Amanda and Kirk Reimer for opening their new home for the Saturday barbecue; the Wallins, Mr. Blore and Mrs. Fung and grandmother for their support; athletic trainer Lisa Smith; events manager Adam Parker; Joanne Puzak and lifeguard staff; Paul Swann for providing clocks for the entire weekend; facilities management for set-up and clean-up; table workers; and all players who participated in the weekend.
Next year's Alumni weekend is already being planned for May 2-3, 2009. Saturday's events include an Alumni versus Air Force game, as well as an all-Alumni contest, capped off by an evening barbecue. Meanwhile, the weekend concludes with a golf outing on Sunday.