Acrobatics and Tumbling remains unbeaten, dominates Augustana by 17 points


Jack Muscatello

Quinnipiac acrobatics and tumbling will next face off against Presbyterian in Clinton, South Carolina on March 18.

Jennifer Moglia, Staff writer

HAMDEN, Conn – After shaking off the rust from nearly a full month off, the Quinnipiac acrobatics and tumbling team defeated Augustana 268.975-251.140 Sunday afternoon, improving to 2-0 on the season.

Today was all about acknowledging the past and looking ahead to new beginnings in a multitude of ways. This was Augustana’s third acrobatics and tumbling meet ever, as its program’s inaugural meet was just over a month ago. This was also the first meeting between the Vikings and the Bobcats.

In the first event of the day – compulsory – themes were introduced that would continue for the entire meet. Quinnipiac looked dominant today and mistakes that the team made in the first meet of the year were fixed. They were consistently sharper and more in sync. 

Augustana, however, looked shaky up top, and instability would haunt the Vikings for the rest of the day. Synchronization was also another consistent error for the team, which started to fall apart in the tumbling heat of the compulsory event.

The Bobcats led by about four points at the conclusion of the opening event, and they would hold on to that lead for the entire meet, guided by junior top MiaRose King.

King had a stellar performance in the acro event, debuting a skill that she hadn’t tried out at a meet before. She also introduced another new skill later during the pyramid event.

“That was really nerve-wracking for me,” King said. “I really just have to remind myself that I know what my body is doing, I know what to think, and I just needed to really trust myself and trust my teammates.”

It’s clear that Quinnipiac’s acrobatics and tumbling team is a tight-knit group with a familial atmosphere, but the players took it to a whole new level at this meet. When King shifted into her first new skill in the acro event, her teammates repeatedly shouted “you’re a statue!” at the top of their lungs until she stabilized in the air.

“They all help calm my anxieties so much,” King said. “They come up to me, they tell me I’ve got it, and they just ease my nerves. It’s really nice having my teammates behind me.”

King’s acro and pyramid skills weren’t the only new additions to the Bobcats’ repertoire at this meet. Head coach Mary Ann Powers explained post-meet that the team spent a lot of time over the past month fixing mistakes from the first meet, deciding which skills could be slotted in and which should be taken out.

“I kind of second-guessed something that I put in there,” Powers said, referring to a new element that the team tried. “They wanted to go for it, and I allowed them to go for it, and now it’s time to hit the drawing board again.”

One of the more obvious mistakes from the day occurred at the end of the acro event when senior top Kyra McHenry fell out of position. She redeemed herself in the toss event, landing a great pass in the first heat after halftime.

Freshman top/tumbler Katherine Carter also made her presence known on the mat today, with notable performances in the acro and tumbling events. Though this was only her second collegiate meet, she was considered one of the veterans when facing a brand-new Augustana team.

Powers, considered one of the founders of collegiate acrobatics and tumbling, made sure to stop by the Vikings’ mat and chat with them postgame. 

“As I told them over there, they should be really proud of themselves,” Powers said. “For a first-year program, they’re looking really strong.”

While Augustana did look strong at points early on in the meet, things continued to break down as time went on. Many of the Vikings’ landings just didn’t look as polished as Quinnipiac’s, all culminating in a tough fall by freshman top/tumbler McKenna Trowbridge, who was shaky in multiple events.

In the team event, Quinnipiac’s starting value was about five points higher than Augustana’s. The team event scores were only separated by just over one point, with the Bobcats edging out the Vikings one final time.

Augustana looked its best in the team event, with the players finally getting in sync with each other, but the Vikings couldn’t avoid one stunt group falling apart early. Quinnipiac notably avoided what Powers described as a “pig pile” at the last meet, when one of the Bobcats’ stunt groups fell out of position towards the end of the event against Kutztown on Feb. 11. 

“We cleaned up some big falls from last time,” Powers said. “We fixed some of the big stuff, now we need to focus on the little things. The little things matter.”

Today was also the team’s alumni meet, where the program welcomed former members of the team back to the arena. Powers expressed that because players she used to coach return so frequently, it didn’t even really feel like “alumni day.”

“They’re here all the time,” she said. “I have one of the strongest returning sections with those women who love this sport and are as passionate about it today as they were when they were here.”

The Bobcats will face Presbyterian on March 18 and Baylor on March 25 as part of their mid-season road trip. They will return home on April 1 to host Frostburg State at 1 p.m.