Falcons Gymnastics Hosts Rocky Mountain Open
Jan. 22, 2003
The Air Force men's and women's gymnastics teams are gearing up for 2003 with their season openers approaching this weekend with the annual Rocky Mountain Open, Jan. 24-25, in the Cadet Gymnasium's West Gym. The Falcons men will be hosting the 2002 NCAA men's national champions Oklahoma, who won last year's RMO. Also in attendance for the men's competition Friday evening will be Arizona State, Nebraska, the Olympic Training Center, and Washington. The Air Force women host Texas Woman's University and UC-Davis Saturday evening to finish out the weekend. The Falcons took first in last year's women's competition.
The Air Force men are looking to improve upon their 114-109 overall record with some strong finishes this season, seeking help from the incoming freshman class and their upper classmen leadership. The Falcons enter this season with 10 returning letterwinnners who competed at least once last year in the team's starting lineup.
Falcon team captain, senior Aaron Jackson, returns after winning his second consecutive outstanding gymnast award. Jackson qualified to the NCAA's in the all-around last season and was a USAG All American on floor exercise, vault, parallel bars, and all-around. Air Force returns five juniors and three sophomores who will be very important to the team's success. Junior Jeff Andersen was the team's 2000 Most Valuable Gymnast and has returned from his two-year mission in Ivory Coast, Africa.
Matthew Joseph and Noah Rich are also contenders on several events, with rings currently being their strongest. Steven Doyle competed on floor and pommel horse last season and has improved on parallel bars and horizontal bar. Patrick McAndrew competed during the last part of the season on rings and vault and should add floor as a third event this year.
"Our five freshmen are working through the difficult fourth-class year and look very good. All are excellent all-around gymnasts who could also be instrumental to our success," said direcotr of gymnastics Lou Burkel. "Brian Moore looks very good on floor, pommel horse, high bar and parallel bars, and is close on vault. Marc Northern has been away from gymnastics for a while, but could become competitive on floor and vault before too long. Eric Peele is developing rapidly, especially on floor, vault and parallel bars. Luke Robertson is coming back from an injury and will be competitive on rings and high bar. Greg Stine is a solid all-around gymnast, with rings and parallel bars being his strongest events. Greg should challenge Aaron Jackson and Jeff Andersen for the top all-around spot."
"Floor exercise, rings, vault and parallel bars appear to be our strongest events," said Burkel of the team's overall performance during recent practices. "Pommel horse and horizontal bar are currently events where we lack depth, but could still be very good."
Air Force Women
Last year's Air Force women's gymnastics team had another incredible season as the team hosted the first-ever Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Women's Gymnastics Championships. Air Force placed second and also qualified as a team for the second straight year to the NCAA Regional Championships hosted by the University of Denver. The Falcons finished with a score of 193.775 and took fifth. But the highlight of the 2002 season for the Air Force women was when they successfully defended their USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Team Title at the 2002 USAG Collegiate National Championships. After completing another record-breaking season, the team looks forward to 2003.
"Although the team consists of only nine athletes, their power, dedication and desire to be the best will help the Falcons make this season just as exciting and successful as years past," said women's head coach Lisa Woody.
"Look for newcomer Lauren Robison to make an immediate impact this season, " said Woody. Sophomores Jessa Liegl and Diane Godar are gymnasts to watch for on at least three of the four events to help the team to a prosperous season.
Using her final year of eligibility, Junior Erin Maguire will be a powerhouse that will jump right into an all-around role early in the season.
"The team leadership and outstanding performance potential of team captain Allison Todd will take this team to a new level," said Woody.
"Senior Meagan McCowan will help to round out the veterans on this team." "You will see lots of new electrifying routines from all the competitors to make this the best season ever for the Air Force women's gymnastics team."