No. 9 Nebraska at Rocky Mountain Open
Saturday, Jan. 12 | 7 p.m. CST
Colorado Springs, Colo. (Cadet West Gymnasium)
The No. 9 Nebraska men’s gymnastics team will open their 2013 season this weekend against No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 11 Air Force, Arizona State and members of the U.S. Olympic Training Center. The five-group rotation will take place in Colorado Springs, Colo., at 7 p.m. CST in the Cadet West Gymnasium.
The United States Air Force Academy will provide a live feed to CBS Sports’ All-Access programming subscribers. Streaming will be available on GoAirForceFalcons.com. Fans are also invited to follow the Huskers on Twitter (@NebraskaMGym) for live updates during the meet.
Scouting the No. 3 Oklahoma
A Glance at Oklahoma
Head Coach: Mark Williams
2012 Record: 26-3
2012 NCAA Finish: 2
The Sooners enter 2013 following an eighth-straight conference title and a second-place NCAA finish in 2012. OU scored 355.600 to capture the MPSF championship over Stanford and California. They carried momentum into the first day of NCAA competition, but lost their national title to Illinois on the second night after scoring a 358.85 in April.
Oklahoma returns fourteen gymnasts from last season’s lineup while adding three newcomers. All-Americans Troy Nitzky, Presten Ellsworth, Chris Stehl and Danny Berardini lead the Sooners. Ellsworth led the Red Team to victory earlier in the season during OU’s scrimmage meet.
Scouting the No. 11 Air
Force Academy Falcons
A Glance at the Air Force Academy
Head Coach: Kip Simons
2012 Record: 13-15
2012 NCAA Finish: N/A
After winning their third consecutive USAG national title, the Falcons look to keep their No. 11 national ranking. The USAFA scored a season-high 341.050 at the USAG championships, then a 335.950 at the MPSF Championships. The Falcons finished their season with a 333.750 at the NCAA Team Qualifiers.
They return fourteen gymnasts, adding four to their 2013 lineup. James Okamoto leads the Falcons as captain after receiving multiple honors throughout the 2012 season, including Gymnast of the Week for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and the College Gymnastics Association.
Scouting the Arizona
State Sun Devils
A Glance at Arizona State
Head Coach: Scott Barclay
2012 Record: N/A
2012 NCAA Finish: N/A
Arizona State returns to the Rocky Mountain Open as consistent competitors. They return twelve gymnasts for the 2013 season and welcome eleven freshmen to the team. The Sun Devils open their schedule in Colorado Springs then continue on to the West Point Open in West Point, N.Y.
Order at the Rocky Mountain Open
Horse, Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars, High Bar, Floor
Floor, Horse, Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars, High Bar
Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars, High Bar, Floor, Horse
Vault, Parallel Bars, High Bar, Floor, Horse, Rings
US Olympic Training Center
Parallel Bars, High Bar, Floor, Horse, Rings, Vault
Huskers Add Five New Gymnasts
Nebraska gained four freshmen in 2013, as well as one transfer student. Joining the team are freshmen Austin Epperson, Sam Chamberlain, Ethan Lottman and Colman Tokar. Epperson came to NU after a strong junior career, attending Junior Olympic Nationals and VISA Championships. The Allen, Texas, native previously trained at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy, the most decorated gymnastics club in the nation. Chamberlain attended the Junior Olympic Nationals multiple times during his junior career. A native of Franklin, Ohio, Chamberlain began getting recruited after moving to Level 10.
Lottman holds the place of home-grown Huskers on the team as the only Nebraska native. A strong competitor on the pommel horse, the freshman was chosen to help strengthen the team’s core on horse. Tokar, a Minneapolis native, came to Nebraska as a walk-on. Training on all six events, the freshman lightens spirits in the gym with his cheerful personality.
NU also added Zach Hedval, a junior transfer from Grossmont College. The Santee, Calif., native joined the Huskers to improve his skills on rings, which he specializes on.
NU in the Preseason Polls: Ninth Nationally, Sixth in Big Ten
The GymInfo 2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll ranked the Huskers ninth nationally, announced in early October, matching where they finished in NCAA team competition in 2012. Illinois, the reigning national champions, topped the poll with six votes, followed by No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Oklahoma.
Nebraska also grabbed sixth place in the Big Ten coaches' preaseason poll, announced in mid-December. The Huskers finished in the same position after their inaugural year in the conference. Michigan claimed the No. 1 position, jumping over reigning conference champions, Illinois, who received the No. 2 honors. Penn State (No. 3), Ohio State (No. 4) and Minnesota (No. 5) finished out the top 5. All seven of the Big Ten schools with men's gymnastics programs placed in the top ten nationally.
Nebraska will travel to Stanford, Calif., for the Stanford Open following this weekend’s meet. They will then host the University of Illinois-Chicago for their home opener on January 27 at 1 p.m. before heading back on the road to challenge Minnesota in Minneapolis on February 2 at 7 p.m.