Sky Broncos take fourth place at national competition
May 14, 2007
KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's precision flight team, the Sky Broncos, finished in fourth place at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association championship, which concluded May 12 at Ohio State University.
The Sky Broncos placed fourth, coming in behind three of the team's longtime rivals--Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott, which captured first place, and the University of North Dakota and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona, which took second and third places, respectively. The six-day competition concluded with a Saturday evening awards ceremony at which the final results were announced.
The annual competition attracted more than 400 pilots from 31 of the top aviation schools in the nation, making the 2007 event the largest in NIFA's history. Each school earned the right to compete at nationals by winning or placing second in regional competitions. Among the other schools represented at this year's national championship were the U.S. Air Force Academy; Kent State, Purdue, Ohio, Ohio State and San Jose State universities; and the universities of Central Missouri and Illinois.
"We had some terrific performances by our pilots, and were solid overall, but we were just not able to pull into the top three," said Sky Broncos head coach James Whittles of the outcome. "Weather was a problem for all the competitors this year, and it caused us to make a couple of critical errors that cost us too much in the long run."
Leading the Sky Broncos' in competition this year were April graduate Jennifer Jakubiec of Commerce Township, Mich., who came in third overall in the top female pilot standings, and senior Benjamin Lauer of Alpena, Mich., who was fourth in points earned among male contestants. Jakubiec and Lauer are the team's co-captains. Lauer also was named WMU's top team member for the competition.
Teams accrue points by having members place in the top slots in the competition's 10 judged flight and ground events.
Sky Bronco alumni Travis Epp and Robbie Beechuk serve as assistant coaches for the team.
2007 WMU Sky Broncos
William Creviston of Orland Park, Ill., is a 2003 graduate of Carl Sandburg High School and the son of Cindy and Randy Creviston. He is a senior majoring in aviation flight science. He placed 20th in the computer accuracy ranking.
Blake Glass of Portage, Mich., a 2006 graduate of Portage Central High School, is the son of Sara and Blake Glass. He is a freshman majoring in aeronautical engineering. He came in sixth in aircraft recognition.
Jeremy Jackson of Duluth, Ga., is the son of Toni and Harvey Jackson. He is a sophomore majoring in aviation administration and communication studies. He placed 11th in the SCAN event--simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation.
Jennifer Jakubiec of Commerce Township, Mich., a 2002 graduate of Walled Lake Western High School, is the daughter of Donean and Frank Jakubiec. She is an aviation flight science major who graduated April 28. The Sky Broncos team co-captain, Jakubiec placed third overall among female contestants. In individual events, she placed ninth in aircraft preflight inspection and 10th in power-off landing.
Annalee Kellogg of North Muskegon, Mich., a 2004 graduate of North Muskegon High School, is the daughter of Bonnie and Kevin Kellogg. She is a junior majoring in aviation flight science. Kellogg placed sixth in the top-scoring female contestant ranking and was 11th in power-off landings.
Kevin Kotewa of Memphis, Mich., the son of Elizabeth and Philip Kotewa, is a 2003 graduate of New Life Christian Academy High School. A junior at WMU, he is majoring in aviation flight science. He placed 17th in aircraft recognition and earned individual points in crew resource management. He also was part of the sixth-place team in the message drop event.
Benjamin Lauer of Alpena, Mich., is a 2003 graduate of Alpena High School. The son of Karen and Kenneth Lauer, is a senior majoring in aviation flight science. Lauer, who was named WMU's top team member for the competition, had the fourth highest score for the event's male competitors and placed sixth in the national top-pilot award. In individual events, he placed second in power-off landing and fifth in instrument flight rating simulated flight. He was part of the eighth-place team in crew resource management, placed 11th in aircraft recognition and ranked 14th in the ground trainer event. He is co-captain of the 2006-07 Sky Broncos team.
Morad Leeal of Farmington Hills, Mich., is the son of Mali and Mati Leeal and a 2003 graduate of North Farmington High School. He is a senior majoring in aviation fight science and finance.
Erick McDaniel of Battle Creek, Mich., a 2005 graduate of Culver Military Academy n Culver, Ind., is the son of Paula and Douglas McDaniel. He is a sophomore studying aviation science and business administration. He placed 13th in aircraft recognition.
Jared K. Neterer of Mattawan, Mich., is a 2005 gradate of Paw Paw High School. He is the son of Holly and Richard Neterer and a sophomore studying aviation flight science. He placed second in aircraft preflight inspection, fifth in computer accuracy and 20th in navigation. He was in second place for the competition's Craig Morrison Award, given for scoring the most combined points in the computer accuracy event, the simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation event and the pre-flight event. He also placed 20th in navigation and was 18th in the ranking of top scoring male contestant.
John C. Nowakowski of Ottawa Lake, Mich., the son of Pat and Henry Nowakowski, is a 2004 graduate of Whiteford High School. He is a senior at WMU majoring in aviation flight science.
Drew Pearson of Battle Creek, Mich., a 2003 graduate of South Kitsap High School in Port Orchard, Wash., is the son of Jill Pearson. He is a sophomore majoring in aviation flight science. He placed 16th in computer accuracy.
Tyler Jason Rice of Melbourne, Fla., a 2004 graduate of West Shore Junior/Senior High School, is the son of Sondra Goodson of Grand Prairie, Texas, and Kevin Rice of Indialantic Beach, Fla. He is a junior majoring in aviation flight science. Rice was part of the eighth-place team in the crew resource management event. He also was part of the sixth-place team in the message drop event, and he placed 18th in navigation.
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