AZUSA, Calif. -- In its first-ever home meet, Azusa Pacific acrobatics & tumbling picked 2 victories to a growing resume by beating NCAA Division I and Division II teams Saturday afternoon in a triangular meet in the Felix Event Center.
The meet was the first of its kind on California soil, and the Cougars prevailed in every manner possible, not only by winning the meet but also by gaining new followers to the new sport.
The Cougars followed last week’s difficult loss to NCAA Division I rival University of Oregon last weekend by regrouping and pulling out a victory over DII Fairmont State University and DI Quinnipiac University before a partisan crowd of 546. Azusa Pacific took the meet with 274.86 points, barely edging Fairmont State, which finished with 273.52. Quinnipiac was third with 265.14.
“Overall, we did really, really well.” said Azusa Pacific Head Coach Colleen Kausrud. “We actually improved a lot from our Oregon meet.”
The first event of 6 was the compulsories, which Azusa Pacific took easily with scores of 9.8, 9.7, 9.75, and 9.92 for a total of 39.17 points. The tumbling heat with the score of 9.92 was completed with near perfection in the standing tuck, toe-touch tuck, handspring tuck, and the round-off handspring from left to right in consecutive fashion.
The Cougars prevailed in the stunts event as well, winning 2 of the 3 heats. The heats were split into the number of elements that needed to be performed with the required skill. The scores of 9.44, 9.65, and 9.76 were led by freshman Cortnee Miller , senior Melanie Aberian, and freshman Caitlin Borstelman, the flyers in each heat.
The last round before the halftime break was the pyramid event. Each 24 person team had 60 seconds to perform three 2.5 high structures, including an entry and a dismount. Azusa Pacific won the event with a 29.75 out of 30 total possible points. Quinnipiac recorded a 28.7 and Fairmont posted a 28.5.
At the half, the Cougars found themselves winning with a slight lead of 97.77 to 95.62 over Fairmont, with Quinnipiac in third at 91.6.
Out of the 15-minute halftime, the meet continued with the basket toss, an event split into 3 heats, the first being a skill executed in a layout position, the second being 2 synchronized basket tosses, and the third having 2 elements performed in the air. Each school managed to win 1 of the 3 heats.
The fifth event was the tumbling event in which Fairmont won 4 out of the 6 heats and cut into the Cougars’ lead by .12 points overall. The 6-element, a solo fifth heat, was completed by freshman Iliana Ibrahim, who was praised by Assistant Coach Kristen Curry, “Iliana did really well in her tumbling pass, coming close to her starting value.”
Ibrahim was excited about the win, but knew there is always room for improvement.
“Our tumbling section improved a lot, and all of our stunts stayed up which is a victory in itself. But, we had a drop, and a couple touch downs, however it’s nothing we can’t fix.”
The last event required full participation of the Azusa Pacific squad for the team routine, which had a 110 possible points. Each team has to perform 36 stunt elements, 6 basket tosses, 5 pyramids, 1 jump/standing tumbling pass per person as well as 1 running tumbling pass per person, and a small dance piece. With 1 big fall, Azusa Pacific opened the door for Fairmont State in the final performance of the meet. However, the Falcons gained just 1.29 point and could not catch the Cougars in the final standings.
Azusa Pacific will look to clean things up before hosting the University of Oregon in a return match on Saturday (Feb. 12) in the Felix Event Center at 7 p.m.