WMU News

Sky Broncos in Mississippi for national flying championship

May 16, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- WMU's flight team, the Sky Broncos, is in Mississippi to prepare for the National Intercollegiate Flying Association's May 16-20 national championship.

The 14-member team (see list below), which will represent WMU's College of Aviation, left May 10 to prepare for the event. The team earned a berth in this year's national event by capturing first place last October in NIFA's Region III competition at Ohio State University. The national event will be held in Grenada, Miss., with Delta State University acting as host team.

At last year's NIFA championship, the Sky Broncos placed third, making it the eighth consecutive year the team earned top three placements at the national event. The Sky Broncos last won the national championship in 1998.

"Our chances this year look very good," says Ryan Seiler, Sky Bronco head coach and the College of Aviation's flight dispatcher. He notes that nine of this year's team members were on last year's team. "We're a little more seasoned than last year and we have two strong returnees as captains of the team."

Seiler says another factor in the team's favor is the involvement of two members of both last year's and the 1998 championship team, Eric Johnson and Kevin Wiig, who are serving as assistant coaches. Team co-captains Jesse Coeling of Hudsonville, Mich., and Jay Orwin of Carleton, Mich., also were members of the 1998 team.

At the NIFA championship, team members compete in six ground events and four flight events for a total of 10 opportunities to earn points. Team points are earned by competitors who place in the top 10 in each of the judged events.

"We're a fairly balanced team and should do well in both the flight and ground events," Seiler says, "but we've always been known for our strength in the flight events, especially navigation. We're very strong in that event again this year."

The team is based at WMU's College of Aviation facilities, which are located at the W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek. More than 600 undergraduates are enrolled in aviation programs there.

Members of the 2000 Sky Broncos are:

Michael Cherry, Charlevoix, Mich., who graduated from Charlevoix High School in 1998, is a sophomore majoring in aviation flight science. He is the son of Gail and Eric Cherry of 7854 S. Dennis Road, Ellsworth.

Martin Coaker, Rockford, Mich., who graduated from Rockford High School in 1997, is a sophomore majoring in aviation flight science. He is the son of Nancy and John Coaker of 2882 Riverwoods.

Jesse A. Coeling, Hudsonville, Mich., who graduated from Hudsonville High School in 1995, is a senior majoring in aviation flight science. He is the son of Wendy and Thomas Coeling of 4888 Barry St.

Jeff Dougherty, Libertyville, Ill., who graduated from Libertyville High School in 1999, is a freshman majoring in aviation flight science. He is the son of Roe Dougherty of 813 Pembroke Road and Kevin Dougherty of Gurnee, Ill.

Jess Dudley, Howell, Mich., who graduated from Howell High School in 1998, is a sophomore majoring in aviation flight science. He is the son of Beti and Richard Dudley of 322 S. Center St.

Jeff Haney, Jackson, Mich., who graduated from Columbia Central High School in Brooklyn in 1997, is a sophomore majoring in aviation flight science. He is the son of Linda Haney of 9800 Gillette Road, Clarklake, and John Haney of 827 Phillips, Jackson.

Ben Ilmer, Farmington Hills, Mich., who graduated from Harrison High School in 1999, is a freshman majoring in aviation flight science. He is the son of Connie and Steve Ilmer of 26344 Greythorne.

Jason McDowell, Willis, Mich., who graduated from Ypsilanti's Lincoln Consolidated High School in 1996, is a sophomore majoring in aviation flight science. He is the son of Laurie McDowell and Glen Cutright of 8260 Judd.

Jay Orwin, Carleton, Mich., who graduated from Airport High School in 1996, is a senior majoring in aviation flight science. He is the son of Ann and James Orwin of 266 Ready Road.

Reese J. Swanson, Gilroy, Calif., who graduated from Gilroy High School in 1998, is a sophomore majoring in aviation flight science. He is the son of Bonnie Banta of 550 Broadway St., Gilroy, and Jeff Swanson of 4047 Woodland Creek Drive #202, Kentwood, Mich.

Kenneth Rosengren, Wappingers Falls, N.Y., who graduated from Roy C. Ketcham High School in 1997, is a junior majoring in aviation flight science. He is the son of Diane Rosengren of 176 Sheafe Road, Wappingers Falls, and Steve Rosengren of 2006 Long Cove, Round Rock, Texas.

Chris Westcott, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., who graduated from Lahser High School in 1997, is a junior majoring in aviation flight science. He is the son of Mary Westcott of 2743 Plumbrook, Bloomfield, and Ron Westcott of 321 N. Marias, Clawson.

Matthew White, Temperance, Mich., who graduated from Bedford High School in 1996, is a senior majoring in aviation flight science. He is the son of Sandy and Jon White of 1745 Stoneybrook.

Dana Wolz, Grand Rapids, Mich., is a sophomore majoring in aviation flight science. She is the daughter of Donna and Dan Wolz of 3122 Woodsboro Drive.

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


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