COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- A six-week break from competition didn’t keep the Azusa Pacific acrobatics & tumbling team from continuing to improve from its first two meets of the 2012 season, but the Cougars’ strong performance still resulted in a pair of losses to Fairmont State and Maryland Friday night at Maryland’s Comcast Center Pavilion.
Azusa Pacific, which improved by 12 points from its season-opening win over Baylor to split with Quinnipiac and Oregon in mid-February, tacked on another 2.47-point improvement by posting a season-best final score of 283.69. The Cougars finished less than three points behind Fairmont State, which tallied 286.275, and Maryland picked up wins over both opponents with a score of 289.565.
Season-best scores came in five of the six events for Azusa Pacific, which turned in season-bests in 15 of the 20 heats that make up the meet. The Cougars were at their best in the second half, posting season-bests in all 10 heats of the three second-half events.
All three teams made it through the opening event (Compulsory) within two-tenths of a point of each other, but both Fairmont State and Maryland pulled ahead of Azusa Pacific by over a full point by the end of the third event. The Cougars scored a season-low 27.14 points in the second event (Acro), scoring just 8.44 points in the third and final heat, the 7 Element Pass.
Fairmont State took the halftime lead with 97.15 points, and Maryland was second with 96.25 while Azusa Pacific sat at 95.19 heading into the three events of the second half.
The Cougars began making their move in the next two events after halftime, out-scoring Fairmont State in both the Pyramid and Tumbling events. The strong finish leading into the final team routine closed the gap between Azusa Pacific and Fairmont State to 1.3 points, with Maryland surging into the lead by a comfortable margin heading into the team routine.
The Cougars had the lowest starting difficulty value of the three teams, and the final team scores reflected similar levels of execution for each of the three programs. That left Azusa Pacific with the lowest team score in the group (102.85) and solidified the final standings with Maryland in the lead, Fairmont State second, and Azusa Pacific third.
With the defeats, Azusa Pacific is now 2-3 on the season. Maryland is now 6-1 with the sweep, and Fairmont State now stands at 3-4 overall. The Cougars wrap up their East Coast trip with a dual meet at Quinnipiac on Monday night.