On Thursday, February 7 the thirty girls on the acrobatics and tumbling team flipped, tumbled and tucked, wowing the crowd with their incredible skill as they took on the Oregon Ducks in the Felix Event Center.
Although the team ended the meet a mere 4.55 points behind Oregon, they impressed the packed crowd and ended the night satisfied with their performance.
“I think that our team did really well tonight even though we fell short,” senior base Jessica Rock said. “We did what we came to do and considering what we’ve looked like in practice, we did everything that we could, and our coaches don’t wish anything more.”
Freshman base Savannah Smith was also happy with the team’s first meet of the year and with her own performance for her first ever meet.
“Every time our team did something, stuck and did what they were supposed to do and did it well, I was happy for our team,” Smith said. “They only beat us by four points, which means that it was a close score.”
“We had a few bobbles along the way, but we really pulled it together,” junior flyer Jessica Laughton said. “I think this is the best we could have hoped for in this meet.”
Oregon, who is undefeated, is APU’s number one competitor in the acrobatics and tumbling world. The rivalry started with the birth of the sport.
“[The sport] started off with just Oregon and us. We did mock heats towards each other to develop it and the NCATA was developed,” Rock said.
The competitive edge doesn’t stop between just the teams either. The coach of Oregon’s team is the former coach of APU’s coach.
“There’s obviously a lot of tension there because our coach knows how [their coach] coaches and what she’s going to do, but then their coach knows what we’re going to do,” said Rock.
With Oregon and APU’s history, Rock knew what to expect.
“Usually we come right underneath their score,” Rock said. “We usually hold up against them and usually we lose it in tumbling. That’s the event that kind of pulls us away from them.”
There are six events in a meet: Cumpolsory, Acro, Pyramid, Toss, Tumbling and Team. Each event has heats where the two teams go head to head. The combined heat scores make up the total score for an event.
In almost every event, APU finished between just a few tenths of a point to two points behind Oregon. In a couple heats and events, however, APU scored above Oregon.
In two out of the three heats in the acro event, APU came out on top and ended up winning with a score of 27.85 to 25.54.
APU also won the toss event and overtook Oregon in two out of the three heats.
The tumbling event rallied the most excitement out of the team and the crowd. Although APU did not win this event, many personal victories came out of it for APU.
Freshman base and back Jamie Montgomery, threw an aerial pass in the fifth heat. Upon landing, she was embraced by her coach and ran to jump into hugs from her team.
“I felt I did really good. That was my elite pass, the pass I did by myself,” Montgomery said. “That was the first time ever that I’ve landed it, so I was really excited about that one.”
Junior base Iliana Ibrahim landed a personal and team win for her heat in the tumbling event as well. She was the only APU tumbler to beat the Oregon tumblers in her heat, scoring a near perfect 9.88 out of a starting value of 10.
After the loss, the Cougars continue to work hard and move forward.
“All we need to do is up our difficulty a little bit and perfect all our skills,” Smith said. “As soon as we have perfection and consistency, we should be able to do well and hopefully win our upcoming meets.”
The next home meet for the Cougars is March 13 against Fairmont State and Quinnipiac.