WACO, Texas -- Azusa Pacific completed a season sweep of Quinnipiac Thursday for the Cougar acrobatics & tumbling program’s first postseason win, advancing into Friday’s National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA) National Championship semifinals where the Cougars were knocked off by top-seeded Maryland.
In the NCATA opener, the No. 5-seeded Cougars took a significant lead over No. 4-seeded Quinnipiac into the team routine and held on for a victory by a margin just over two full points, posting a winning score of 275.370 to the Bobcats’ 273.205. Almost all of the final margin came from the tumbling event, when Azusa Pacific tallied 55 points in six heats, including 9.75 points from the fifth heat, the six element pass.
After tying in the opening compulsory event with 38.30 points each, Azusa Pacific won three of the next four events to take a lead of 4.305 points into the final event, the team routine. In that event, Quinnipiac started with a difficulty value 3.6 points higher than the Cougars, who scored 95.23 points to secure the win, which was Azusa Pacific’s first in two years of participation in the NCATA national championship event. Last year, the Cougars were eliminated in the opening round by Quinnipiac.
In Friday’s semifinal matchup with top-seeded Maryland, Azusa Pacific led after the first two events before taking a devastating hit in the middle heat of the three-heat pyramid event. The Cougars scored a season-low 7.60 points in the heat, quickly turning Azusa Pacific’s lead of forty-nine hundredths of a point into a 1.61-point halftime deficit (96.0 to 94.39) against last year’s NCATA runner-up. The Terrapins came back after halftime with victories in the toss and tumbling events, extending the lead to as much as 3.71 points midway through tumbling.
The Cougars gained a little ground in the final three tumbling heats before scoring over a point better than Maryland in the team routine despite starting with a disadvantage of 1.74 points in starting difficulty value. Azusa Pacific won the team routine by 1.1 points, scoring 95.93 for a final tally of 273.695, which fell short of Maryland’s meet total of 276.230.
The nationals split leaves Azusa Pacific with a final season record of 4-5. The NCATA championships conclude Saturday, when defending national champion Oregon takes on Maryland.