Eight members of the 13th-ranked Air Force men’s gymnastics team will wrap up the 2021 campaign this weekend, when they travel to Minneapolis, Minn., for the NCAA Men’s National Collegiate Gymnastics Championships on April 16-17. The Falcons’ contingent will open the competition in the first of two national qualifying sessions on Friday, April 16.
 
MEET INFORMATION
The 2021 NCAA Championships will be held at Maturi Pavilion on the University of Minnesota campus. Two qualifying sessions will take place on Friday, April 16, while the team and individual event finals will take place on Saturday, April 17. There will be no general ticket sales for any session – spectators will be limited to pre-selected guests of the competitors. Friday’s two sessions will be streamed on BTN+, while Saturday’s action will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network (BTN). Direct links to live stats can be found on the team’s schedule page at GoAirForceFalcons.com.
 
LET’S MEET THE FIELD

Air Force’s individuals will compete in the afternoon (1:00 p.m. CT) session of the NCAA Qualifier with teams from No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 4 Nebraska, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 8 Illinois, No. 9 Navy and No. 12 William & Mary. The evening session, which begins at 7:00 p.m., will feature No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Stanford, No. 6 Penn State, No. 7 Iowa, No. 10 Minnesota and No. 11 California, as well as individuals from Army West Point.
 
WHO’S WHO
Garrett Braunton, Brandon Bzoskie, Noah Everett, Collin Hickey, Scott McMurray, Sam Metzler, Allen Shadan and Frankie Valentin will represent Air Force at the National Qualifier. Below is a list of Air Force competitors and their events, as well as the team they will rotate with and the rotation when they will compete their event. As all-arounders, Braunton will begin on the floor exercise and follow Olympic order, while Valentin will start on the pommel horse. Please note, Air Force will perform first on every apparatus.
 
NAME: EVENT(S) | ROTATING WITH
Garrett Braunton: All-Around (FX-PH-SR-V-PB-HB) | Oklahoma
Brandon Bzoskie: Vault (R1) | Ohio State
Noah Everett: Pommel Horse (R5) | Ohio State
Collin Hickey: Floor Exercise (R2) | William & Mary
Scott McMurray: Pommel Horse (R4) | Nebraska
Sam Metzler: Floor Exercise (R5) | Illinois
Allen Shadan: Parallel Bars (R2), High Bar (R3), Still Rings (R6) | Ohio State
Frankie Valentin: All-Around (PH-SR-V-PB-HB-FX) | Navy
 
HISTORY 101
A total of 12 Falcons have claimed All-America status at the NCAA Championships, including Denis Aurelius (2016 still rings), Tim Hess (1993 floor exercise), Terry Higgins (1966 parallel bars), Joel Miller (1992 still rings), Doug Reynolds (1964 tumbling), Bill Ritter (1972 floor exercise), Greg Stine (2008 still rings, 2008 all-around), Lukas Texeira (2019 high bar), John Tomich (1973 vault), Arinn Wade (2016 pommel horse), Tim Wang (2014 pommel horse, 2016 pommel horse, 2017 parallel bars, 2017 all-around), and Jim Weaver (1962 trampoline).
 
HISTORY 201
Air Force has made 15 team appearances to the final site of the NCAA Championships (1961-62-63-64, 1970, 1972-73, 2011-12-13-14-15-16-17-18), with its highest finish (sixth) coming at the 1972 championship meet. The Falcons made a program-record eight-straight team appearances to the NCAA Qualifier (2011-18), before that streak was snapped in 2019.
 
AIR FORCE IN THE FINAL RANKINGS
With a National Qualifying Average of 383.025, Air Force finished the 2021 season ranked 13th in the national standings. The Falcons were listed a team-high 11th on the pommel horse (62.788) and still rings (63.963), while Garrett Braunton (10th, 75.000) and Frankie Valentin (12th, 74.363) both finished the season ranked among the nation’s top 15 in the all-around.