April 20, 1999
KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's flight team, the Sky Broncos, will leave for Kansas April 22 to defend its title at the April 27-May 1 National Intercollegiate Flying Association championship.
The 14-member team earned a berth in this year's national event by capturing first place last October in NIFA's Region III competition at Ohio University. The national competition will be held at Kansas State University at Salina.
At last year's national event, held at the same location, the Sky Broncos captured their first national championship since 1983, defeating 27 teams from around the nation. That win came after six consecutive years of top three finishes for the Ski Broncos.
"This is a young team, but a very balanced team," says Ryan Seiler, Sky Bronco head coach, noting that just six of last year's championship team is back for this year's competition. "We're very excited about the event this year and are looking for some good competition from some of our traditional rivals -- the University of North Dakota, Embry Riddle/Prescott and Ohio State."
A new ground event, IFR (Instrument Flight Rating) Simulator, will be added to the existing five ground events and four flight events, bringing to 10 the number of events in which competitors are judged, Seiler says. Team points are earned by competitors who place in the top 10 in each of the events.
Seiler is assisted in his coaching duties by three members of last year's team -- Pat Denney, Bob Eddy and Jennifer Richard, who took top individual pilot honors last year. The team adviser is Mark Serbenski, supervisor of aviation operations at WMU.
Members of this year's Sky Broncos team include:
Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org
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