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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

‘Liquid steel’ acrobatics and tumbling eyes national championship after first-ever undefeated regular season

Tyler Rinko
The Quinnipiac acrobatics and tumbling team ranks second in the latest NCATA rankings.

 Mary Ann Powers has been at Quinnipiac for a long time — 26 years to be exact. She arrived before the NCATA was developed, and helped push acrobatics and tumbling into NCAA emerging status. She’s coached dozens of teams and hundreds of athletes, but when asked where she would rank this year’s Bobcats on her all-time list, she didn’t hesitate. 

“One,” Powers says, raising a single finger. “The (ESPN+) broadcasters are alumni. They just said, ‘Coach, we wouldn’t have made this team.’” 

That confidence comes in the wake of Quinnipiac’s first undefeated regular season in program history. The Bobcats clinched a seven-point victory over Gannon on Saturday, pulling ahead from the No. 3 Golden Knights in a dominant performance in the team event. 

Quinnipiac dismantled the No. 3, 4 and 6 teams in the country en route to a 6-0 record, and currently sits No. 2 in the latest NCATA championship rankings as the postseason looms.

Head coach Mary Ann Powers (center) watches the team event during a meet on March 23.

“I’m not surprised,” Powers said. “This team has got liquid steel running through their veins. They just show up.” 

It’s just the second time Quinnipiac has entered the tournament this high, the first being in 2013. The national championships, set for April 25-30, will play host to eight programs in Fairmont, West Virginia. 

“This team works hard and I’ve never been a part of a team so dedicated and so willing to put it all out there,” senior base Tiffany Zieba said. “I’m really lucky to have them as sisters.” 

Zieba — who won a quad tumbling individual national title last year — is part of a large veteran class. With 14 seniors and graduate students, the Bobcats have the foundation set for the program’s first national championship as a team. They remain one of three teams across all three divisions without a loss in 2024 (Baylor and Limestone). 

“This team is ready to go,” Powers said. “There has been a village behind this team … they just wanna put the Q on their chest and do the best they can.” 

Standing in the Bobcats’ way is the aforementioned Baylor, the NCATA juggernaut with an unblemished 8-0 record and looking for its ninth-straight title. The Bears — undefeated since March 2021 — have ousted Quinnipiac in every NCATA Tournament since 2017, including each semifinal since 2019 and the 2018 championship meet, the Bobcats’ last title appearance. 

So how is senior base/tumbler Farrah Chernov preparing for a potential revenge bout? 

“Just taking it day by day, practice by practice,” Chernov said. “We always tell ourselves … have fun with it. This is a sport that we all chose for a reason, to enjoy it, have fun. Every day we come into practice, we tell each other ‘Take it easy, don’t rush it, have patience with yourself. Trust yourself (and) trust your teammates.’” 

Chernov was on last year’s quad tumbling unit with Zieba that won a national title. In fact, she was one of 16 Bobcats to claim an individual trophy. The championship experience is important, but there’s a bigger goal in Powers’ sight. 

“All that individual stuff comes (down) to that (final) two and a half minutes,” Powers said, referring to the team event. “We got to play like we have nothing to lose.” 

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About the Contributors
Ethan Hurwitz
Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor
Cameron Levasseur
Cameron Levasseur, Sports Editor
Tyler Rinko
Tyler Rinko, Associate Photography Editor

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