Sky Broncos begin hunt for second straight national title
Oct. 11, 2002
KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's precision flight team, the Sky Broncos, is headed to Ohio State University Oct. 16-19 for the National Intercollegiate Flying Association's Region III competitions.
Although the Sky Broncos captured the national flying title in May 2002, the 15-member team competing this year is a much younger group, with only six returning members from last year's championship team. Only one member of this year's team has piloting experience in previous NIFA competitions, which include both ground and flying events.
"It's going to be challenge this year," says head coach Tom Grossman, chief flying instructor for the WMU College of Aviation. "We're a new team now, and we'll have to work very hard achieve our goals."
Grossman says his team may leave as early as Saturday, Oct. 12, for the regional competition, which will begin Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the OSU Airport at Don Scott Field in Columbus. If the weather permits early arrival, the team will use its first few days at OSU to practice and become familiar with the local terrain.
NIFA regional and national competitions pit schools against each other in five ground events and four flying events. Team points are earned by competitors who place in the top 10 in each of the events. A team first- or second-place finish at regional competition means the team qualifies for the national competition, which will be held next May at the University of North Dakota.
The 2002-03 Sky Broncos will be led by co-captains Darin Dumas, a senior from Dearborn Heights, Mich., and Marc Kobaissi, a junior from Barrington, Ill. Both were members of last year's competitive team.
In addition to the six returning members, the new team includes four students who practiced with last year's Sky Broncos throughout the 2001-02 season and five brand-new team members.
Besides WMU and OSU, other schools with flight teams eligible to compete in NIFA Region III are Andrews University, Bowling Green University, Kent State University, Ohio University, the University of Cincinnati and the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh.
Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org