WMU News

Sky Broncos take first at NIFA regionals

Oct. 19, 2003

ALBANY, Ohio -- Nabbing nearly half of the available points at a six-school competition, Western Michigan University's Sky Broncos flew to resounding win at the Oct. 14-18 National Intercollegiate Flying Association's Region III competition at Ohio University. The win guarantees the team a berth at next April's national championship in Tennessee.

The 14-member precision flight team from WMU's College of Aviation captured 329 out of a possible 660 points at the event, which was held at OU's regional airport in Albany. The WMU team's closest competitors, OU and Ohio State University, finished with 129 and 112 points, respectively. Also competing were the University of Cincinnati, Kent State University and Andrews University.

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.

Sky Bronco Marc Kobaissi of Barrington, Ill., earned "top pilot" honors at the event. Three of the other four finalists for the award were his Sky Bronco teammates: Marshall Lynn of Holly, Mich.; Ian Alexander of Grandville, Mich.; and Jelani Kelley of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

According to Head Coach Tom Grossman, the team did "an awesome job" at the competition. He noted the team's point total was close to the 336 points scored by WMU's 2001-02 team, which went on to win the national championship in 2002.

The Region III win means the Sky Broncos have earned a berth at the 2004 NIFA championship, which will be held next April at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The Sky Broncos team members are scheduled to return to WMU's College of Aviation at W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek, Mich., mid-day today, Oct. 19, with planes beginning to touch down at approximately 11:15 a.m. For more information, contact coach Tom Grossman at (269) 217-1540 or <thomas.grossman@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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