DAY 6 (Aug. 6): Emerging Sport Gets Membership Boost
Azusa Pacific helped launch the birth of Acrobatics & Tumbling as an intercollegiate sport, and the upcoming season features the addition of three new schools to the National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association.
In two seasons of NCATA head-to-head competition, Azusa Pacific has compiled a 7-10 overall record as one of just two non-NCAA Division I programs competing in the six-team association. Although defending NCATA national runner-up Maryland dropped its program following the 2012 season, the NCATA has added three NCAA programs in the organization’s first significant round of growth since its initial formation.
The Cougars are one of the NCATA’s five charter members (the others are Oregon, Baylor, Fairmont State, and Quinnipiac), and Fairmont State (NCAA Div. II) was the only other non-Div. I program besides Azusa Pacific before this year’s additions. The NCATA newcomers are Alderson-Broaddus College (NCAA Div. II), Plymouth State (NCAA Div. III), and UMass Dartmouth (NCAA Div. III).
“The added programs confirm the legitimacy of the sport, and it creates more visibility for Azusa Pacific as well as the sport itself,” Cougar head coach Colleen Kausrud said. “It will also allow us to participate in more local meets, so we can continue to grow the Cougar Acrobatics & Tumbling fan base.”
At the inaugural NCATA National Championship meet in Eugene, Ore., in 2010, Azusa Pacific was edged by Quinnipiac in the first round of the team competition but still produced national champions in the double tumbling pass of the individual events championships. Last year, the Cougars advanced to the semifinals and improved to two national championships in the individual events along with the program’s first NCATA All-American, Iliana Ibrahim.
Azusa Pacific has hosted four dual meets over the past two years, with an average attendance of more than 850 fans per meet who provide a unique energetic atmosphere to the competition floor at the Felix Event Center. The 2013 schedule will be announced later this fall.