Azusa, CA – The Stunts & Tumbling team has made it clear the season isn’t over. Their progress as a program isn’t nearing its end, but this season’s highlight is only six short days away. The team is in its final days of practice before the highly anticipated National Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida. On Tuesday, they step onto a plane trying to make history.
“It’s all about confidence and execution at this point,” said Head Coach Colleen Kausrud.
April 8-9 the team competes against 16 other universities in the largest division at the Championships. Over 130 teams from around the country will meet to face off at the nation’s largest event. In APU’s division, the previous champions in this division include U Mass Dartmouth (5 national championships) and Elmira College (3 national championships) who have dominated over the past few years.
“We love being the underdog. I hope they write us off before we get there. There are outstanding teams in this division, who have a longer history than we do. But I know the improvement we’ve made this year as a program. We simply work harder” said Kausrud.
After a solid performance last year in the first round of competition, finishing in 2nd, the team made uncharacteristic mistakes in the finals, leading to a 6th place finish. They have bounced back during this year’s regular season with three 2nd place-, followed by two 1st place finishes, but the memory now serves as inspiration.
“The results from last year nationals definitely serve as a motivation this year. Getting second in prelims gave us a little taste of what winning would feel like. Little did we know we would beat ourselves [in finals]. Those feelings were devastating; they have not gone away; we use them as drive and we see them as an experience that we never want to happen again,” says sophomore Ali Bundrant.
So, without focusing on last year, but using it as fuel, the team has stepped over every obstacle placed in front of them this year. The year simply has one missing piece.
Kausrud is certainly passionate about the next step. “We made some solid strides and reached some milestones. But we’re not done yet; two performances to show the rest of the country where the program is at now. We want to have two clean performances. The results are in the judges’ hands at that point. But we have to do our part first. We feel we can hang with anyone in the country right now.”
Kausrud’s final comment? “I believe in my team, and they are ready.”
The team competes at 9:05 AM EST on Thursday(4/8) in the first round of competition.