WMU News

Sky Broncos take regional title, qualify for nationals

October 27, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's flight team, the Sky Broncos, captured first place in regional competition over the weekend, qualifying for a berth at the 1999 National Intercollegiate Flying Association championship and a chance to defend the team's national title.

The 15-member team took first place overall and first place in both the flight and ground events of the Oct. 19-24 NIFA Region III event held at Ohio University. Ohio State University finished in second place and Ohio University took third. This is the sixth consecutive year that the Sky Broncos have taken first in fall regional competition.

Six members of the 1998 national championship team were joined by nine new team members in the win. The team will now train for the April 26-May 1 NIFA championship which will be held at Kansas State University at Salina, the same site as last year's national event.

Teams compete in four flight events and five ground events at both the regional and national events. Sky Broncos captured four first-place finishes in the regional effort. First-place finishes were turned in by:

Eric Johnson from Battle Creek, Mich., who took first in aircraft recognition;

Brian Boardman of Holland, Mich., who took first place in computer accuracy;

Kevin Wiig of Auburn, Ala., who took first place in flight simulator; and

A team comprised of Wiig and Jay Orwin of Carleton, Mich., which captured first place in navigation.

Orwin also came in second in the event's top pilot ranking.

Ryan Seiler is chief coach of the team and is assisted by three members of last year's championship team -- Jennifer Richard, Pat Denny and Bob Eddy. The entire effort is under the supervision of Mark Serbenski, supervisor of aviation operations in WMU's School of Aviation Sciences and Sky Bronco head coach.

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

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