The Air Force women's gymnastics team kicks off the 2018 season this weekend, when it hosts Wisconsin La Crosse on Saturday, Jan. 6, at the Academy's Cadet West Gymnasium. Action is slated to begin at 6:00 p.m., and admission is free. Air Force will also be streaming the meet live via GoAirForceFalcons.com.
OPPONENT QUICK HITS
This will mark the first meeting between Air Force and Wisconsin-La Crosse since 2009, when the Falcons earned a pair of victories over the Eagles. That year, Air Force opened the season with a 188.125-183.850 victory over UWL at the Academy and then earned a 187.300-185.675 win over the in La Crosse. The Eagles, who placed second at the NCGA and WIAC Championships last season, finished the 2017 campaign ranked fourth in Division III, with a Season Average Score (SAS) of 190.9375.
CHECKING THE CALENDAR
The Falcons are slated to host five meets inside the Cadet West Gymnasium this year, including the 2018 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships. The Falcons open the season against Wisconsin-La Crosse on Jan. 6, before spending three-straight weekends at home in February (Seattle Pacific on Feb. 10, UC Davis on Feb. 17, New Hampshire and Temple on Feb. 24). Air Force will also visit Denver (Jan. 14), BYU (Jan. 26), Alaska (Feb. 3), UC Davis (Mar. 2), San Jose State (Mar. 4), Arizona (March 9) and Seattle Pacific (Mar. 17) during the regular season, before heading to Denton, Texas, for the 2018 USAG Collegiate Nationals on April 13-15.
LEADING THE WAY
The 2018 squad is captained by senior Jamie Lewis.
The Falcons' returning roster includes three seniors (Casey Bell, Chelsea Grimison, Jamie Lewis), five juniors (Riley Hill, Analise Howard, Emily Luers, Mariana Murphy, Brittney Reed) and two sophomores (Rita Koenigbauer, Anna Salamone). That lineup features four USAG All-Americans (Bell: 2017 floor exercise; Lewis: 2016 vault; Murphy: 2016 uneven bars; Salamone: 2017 uneven bars) and six all-conference performers (Bell: 2017 floor exercise; Hill: 2017 balance beam; Lewis: 2015 all-around, 2016 all-around; Murphy: 2017 all-around; Salamone: 2017 uneven bars).
WELCOME TO THE SHOW
Air Force also welcomed eight newcomers to its roster in 2018, with the addition of Cam Barber, Brooke Bruder, Chloe Camello, Tyler Davis, Lynne Jad, Jessica Kirkpatrick, Lauren Miller and Heidi Sand.
ON THE SIDELINE
Doug Day returns to the gym for his 12th season as the Falcons' head coach. Day, a three-time conference coach of the year, will be joined on the sideline by second-year associate head coach Jennifer Langley and first-year assistant coach Josh Nilson.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
Air Force travels to the University of Denver next Sunday (Jan. 14), when they face the eighth-ranked Pioneers at 2:00 p.m., inside Hamilton Gym.