HONOLULU, Hawai‘i -- Azusa Pacific opened a season of high expectations with a convincing victory in the first-ever meet for the first-year National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association program at Hawai‘i Pacific University.
The Cougars registered a final score of 268.795 to HPU’s 255.455, making the final 13.34-point margin the largest victory in Azusa Pacific’s four-year program history.
“To get an early win in the season gives us a huge confidence boost, although the first meet in general will usually give you a lot of some areas to improve,” Azusa Pacific head coach Colleen Kausrud said. “We can’t afford to make the mistakes we made tonight, and we’ll make some changes in the team event to strengthen it. But to actually win the toss and tumbling events is a huge step forward for us.”
The first-ever meet for Hawai‘i Pacific got off to a good start for the hosts, as the Sea Warriors won three consecutive compulsory heats to win the four-heat compulsory event. However, the Cougars quickly erased the HPU lead by winning the next two events (acro and pyramid) to take a lead of 0.75 points into halftime.
“We knew the background of Hawai‘i Pacific’s (old) competitive cheer program,” Kausrud said. “They were a team we had no idea what we would be up against, but I was really happy with the overall team atmosphere. This group was more focused than they ever have been, and they worked together as a team. We really needed that to start the season.”
The Cougars doubled their lead to 1.5 points with another win in the toss event, and they really began to gain separation in the six-heat tumbling event. Azusa Pacific scored 9.30 in the triple pass heat and 9.35 in the quad pass heat, picking up over a full point with each of those heat victories. By winning four of six tumbling heats, the Cougars took a lead of over three points into the team event. That’s where Azusa Pacific not only enjoyed the overall lead but also took about a three-point edge in the starting difficulty value.
Azusa Pacific ran a clean team event to earn a score of 91.02, while the nerves of Hawai‘i Pacific’s first-year team resulted in deductions that knocked HPU’s team scored down to 81.03.
With the win, Azusa Pacific opens the season with a win for the second time in the past three years, while Hawai‘i Pacific falls to 0-1. The Cougars will visit the University of Oregon for a tri-meet with Oregon and Quinnipiac on Monday, March 10.