WMU News

Sky Broncos fly away with national championship

May 19, 2002

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Western Michigan University's precision flight team, the Sky Broncos, soared to a first place finish at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association championship held May 14-18 at Ohio State University.

The 15-member Sky Bronco team from the College of Aviation won the national title, its first since 1998, by beating 26 other teams from around the nation. Second place in the competition went to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University of Prescott, Ariz., and last year's champion, the University of North Dakota, finished third. The Bronco win came after a decade of top-three finishes by the WMU team at the annual event.

At the championship, team members compete in six ground events and four flight events for a total of 10 opportunities to earn points. Team points are earned by competitors who place in the top 10 in judged events.

The Sky Broncos captured a team total of 134 points to secure the championship, while the second and third-place teams earned 98 and 91 points, respectively. WMU aviators dominated the ground events with 84 points, to second-place Embry Riddle's 45 points. In the flight events, the Sky Broncos tied for second place with the University of North Dakota, just three points behind the Embry Riddle pilots.

Senior Ken Rosengren of Wappingers Falls, N.Y., led the way for the Sky Broncos. Rosengren was named the nation's top pilot in the individual standings after capturing first and fourth place in two flight events and coming in second in one ground event.

"I am thrilled," says Sky Bronco head coach Tom Grossman. "All of our team members did an exceptional job, not only this week but all year long. This team has always been very strong, but it has often come in second or third. Their win is well deserved, to say the least."

Grossman, who is the College of Aviation's chief flight instructor and in his first year coaching the team, says the Sky Broncos achieved top-five rankings in seven events, and earned spots in the top 10 for nine events. In the aircraft recognition event, members of the Sky Broncos took four of
the top five slots.

"This win is terrific news and a real credit to the skills and dedication of the members of the WMU flight team," says Gregory A. Lyman, dean of the College of Aviation. "All of the Sky Broncos and their coaches have worked hard to achieve this goal, and we are extremely proud of the fact that they are number one in the nation."

Steven Tkachuk of Canton, Mich., and James Whittles of Holland, Mich., are assistant coaches of the team.

2002 Sky Broncos

Ian Alexander is a freshman from Grandville, Mich.
Robbie Beechuk (alternate) is a freshman from Redford, Mich.
Michael Cherry is a senior from Charlevoix, Mich.
Martin Coaker is a senior from Rockford, Mich.
Andrew Drake is a sophomore from Ann Arbor, Mich.
Jess Dudley is a senior from Howell, Mich.
Darin Dumas is a senior from Dearborn Heights, Mich.
Jeff Haney is a senior from Clarklake, Mich.
Ben Ilmer is a junior from Farmington Hills, Mich.
Jelani Kelley (alternate) is a freshman from Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Marc Kobaissi is a sophomore from Barrington, Ill.
Marshall Lynn is a sophomore from Holly, Mich.
William Mastick is a sophomore from Waterford, Mich.
Jason McDowell is a senior from Willis, Mich.
Alicia Nault (alternate) is a freshman from Fond du Lac, Wisc.
Ken Rosengren is a senior from Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
Reese Swanson is a senior from Prunedale, Calif.
Aaron Trombley (alternate) is a sophomore from Medford, N.J.
Dana Wolz is a senior from Grand Rapids, Mich.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu


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