WMU News

Sky Broncos qualify for national championships

Oct. 24, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's precision flight team, the Sky Broncos, took second place in regional competition last weekend, guaranteeing the team a berth in next spring's national competition in North Dakota.

In a close competition that was decided by only three points, the 15-member team took second to Ohio State University at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Region III competition that concluded Oct. 21 at Kent State University. The top-two teams at regional competitions qualify for the annual national meet, which will be held next May at the home field of the University of North Dakota, a perennial powerhouse.

The Sky Broncos have finished in the top three in national competition for nine consecutive years and last captured the national championship in 1998. Last May, the Sky Broncos took second nationally and the University of North Dakota captured first.

"This is the closest regional competition I have seen in the nine years I have been involved with the team," said Sky Bronco head coach Ryan Seiler. "I am very pleased with the team's performance, however we know we must spend a little more time practicing in the landing events over the next six months."

The Sky Broncos took first place in the ground events that are part of the competition and second place overall in the flight events. Leading the Sky Broncos performance in the flight events was Christopher Wescott, an aviation flight science senior from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., who captured second in the "Top Pilot" standings for the event. Jeff Haney, a Clarklake, Mich., senior in aviation flight science, came in fifth in the "Top Pilot" standings. Wescott and Haney, along with Mike Cherry, a junior from Charlevoix, Mich., are the team's captains.

In the ground events, the Sky Broncos swept the first four places in aircraft recognition and took second through fourth places in both the flight computer accuracy and pre-flight competitions.

"I was very happy with the performance in the ground events," Seiler says. "We showed real gains in all of those events."

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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