MPSF Championships A Success, Falcons Qualify For NCAAs
March 26, 2002
U.S.A.F.A., Colo.- The Air Force women's gymnastics team qualified last weekend for the first round of the North Central Region of the NCAA Championships, April 6 in Denver. The Falcons placed second at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Women's Gymnastics Championships Saturday evening in the Cadet Gymnasium's West Gym. Sacramento State won the meet with a final team score of 194.900 to edge out tournament host Air Force, which finished with a score of 194.650. San Jose State took third with a score of 193.375, followed by UC Davis (192.000) and UC-Santa Barbara (189.525).
In the all-around competition, Toni Peterson of Sacramento State finished first with a 39.325, followed by Air Force's Jennifer Dougherty (39.100) and Kimberly Broughton (39.075). Peterson also managed to secure the top slot on vault (9.850) and was caught in a four-way tie for first on floor with San Jose State's Shirla Choy and UC Davis' Ericka Ruelas and Tiffany Chan with a score of 9.900. Bethany Stott of Air Force tied with Sacramento State's Nirvana Zaher for first on beam with a 9.875, followed by Air Force's Allison Todd (9.850). Zaher and San Jose State's Dani Albright tied for second on vault with a 9.800. Broughton took first on bars with a 9.875, followed by Ruelas (9.850) and Peterson and Dougherty who tied for third (9.825).
"The team's performance was awesome!" said Falcons women's head coach Lisa Woody. "We did not count a single major mistake on any event and we got into the national championships ranked first, as we have been all season long which is truly amazing!"
Air Force will be joining Texas Women's University, Southern Connecticut, UC Davis, Cornell, UC Santa Barbara, Centenary, and Seattle Pacific in Denver at the regional competition. The Falcons women's team finished the season 8-8 and will defend their 2001 USA Gymnastics Collegiate team title April 11 in Springfield, MA.
Oklahoma won the MPSF men's gymnastics team championships Friday evening. The Sooners finished with a team score of 219.225 and qualified 11 gymnasts to the event finals Saturday afternoon. Cal Berkeley finished second with a team score of 217.200, followed by Stanford (207.650), Nebraska (205.825), Air Force (202.850) and UC-Santa Barbara (202.500).
Jingjing Zhang of Cal Berkeley won the all-around with a 55.275, followed by Daniel Furney of Oklahoma with a 53.850 and David Eaton of Cal (53.625). Zhang also took first on pommel horse (9.500) and high bar (9.400) and placed second on vault (9.600) and tied for fifth on floor (8.850).
During Saturday afternoon's event finals, the Falcons qualified five gymnasts to the NCAA Championships in Norman, OK, April 4-6. Jackson qualified on floor and rings, Scott Burns on floor, Sistare on rings, and James Hayes on vault.
Jock Stevens of Oklahoma won the floor competition with a 9.450. The Sooners placed eight gymnasts within the top three during the finals and OU head coach Mark Williams was named MPSF Men's Gymnastics Coach of the Year.
Cal Berkeley's Aaron Floyd finished second on floor with a 9.275 and Josh Landis of Oklahoma who posted a 9.050. Landis won on pommel horse with 9.500, edging out David Eaton and Suhail Arastu of Cal with a 9.475 and a 9.200, respectively. Stanford's Marshall Erwin and Oklahoma's Brett Covey tied for first on rings with a 9.900, followed by Sooner Jim Lovelady with a 9.500. Nebraska's Josh Rasile hit on vault to take first with a 9.500. Dan Gill of Stanford placed second with a 9.450 followed by OU's Jock Stevens with a 9.400. Eaton tied for first on high bar with Oklahoma's Everette Bierker with a 9.300. Sooner Ryan Hillyer finished third with a 9.250. Stanford's David Durante took third on parallel bars (8.700) and OU's Bierker finished second (8.900). Cody Moore of Cal won on parallel bars with a 9.150. Moore was also named MPSF Gymnast of the Year.
"The championships went smoothly thanks to a lot of help from a lot of Air Force Academy people," said Air Force men's head coach Lou Burkel. "This was perhaps the least stressful gymnastics championship meet we have hosted in the last 25 years because of the support we received. We had good crowds and a very good competition. The women finished second and qualified for the NCAA regional championships in Denver and the men finished fifth, as high as we had hoped to finish and had a very solid performance after a very shaky start."
The men's team finished the season 2-15 and will compete in the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Championships in Springfield April 12-13.