Cougars to host and compete in NCATA National Championships

Azusa Pacific’s acrobatic and tumbling team closed out their regular season with with a 2-4 overall record. The team recently suffered two straight losses against the University of Oregon and Baylor University earlier in the month.

On April 8, against Oregon, the Cougars scored below their season average in three of four heats during the compulsory event and two of three heats in the acrobatics event. Keeping the Ducks from expanding the lead, APU strung together seven consecutive heats – including the pyramid event, toss event and tumbling event – to score over their season average.

Led by juniors Ashleigh Pitts (9.775 open tumbling) and Heather Hovander (9.700 aerial tumbling), all three of APU’s solo tumbling passes scored between 9.675 and 9.775 points. It was also freshman base Courtney Moser’s score of 9.675 in the six-element tumbling heat that helped tie the Cougar’s second-best score in the six-element heat for the 2017 season.

Falling behind by a 1.5-point margin, the Cougars admitted defeat as Oregon passed their lead within the remaining five sets of the event – ultimately leading to victory with a 10.8 margin.

“[The losses] did not give us any setbacks in motivation, it just allowed us to focus more on details and got us even more pumped up about championships,” sophomore base Lauren Chappell said.

However, Oregon’s performance in tumbling gave the Ducks a five-point lead heading into the team event. APU scored 98.03 in their team event – making it their third-highest score of the season, but did not compare to the 103.75 score that Oregon won with.

With that win, University of Oregon finished their regular season with a 6-1 record, which they will hold as the move onto the 2017 National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA) National Championships. The championships will be hosted by APU during the final week of April.

On Tuesday, April 11, the Cougars competed in their final regular-season home meet against Baylor University. Azusa Pacific lost to Baylor, who won with a 10-point win, 286.800 to 276.945.

Seniors Kalani Aguigui and Hannah Welander wrapped up their last heat with the team and helped the Cougars tie their season best score of 9.90 in the compulsory pyramid. A season-best of 9.80 was scored in the seven-element acro heat by Welander and four other Cougars.

“I am most proud of the resilience of this team. This year especially we have felt as if the world was against us as far as injuries and politics, but our team was able to come together and become stronger than ever in times where we could have lost hope, showing true strength,” Aguigui said. “Because of this, this team is one I will truly miss and never forget.”

Welander, along with junior top Rachel Shier and junior base MaryKate Cacchione, beat Baylor in the five-element acro heat. The Cougars scored better than their season average in four of the six events, including acro, pyramid and tumbling events – posting its second-best score of the year.

As a team, the Cougars scored their second-highest score in three of the six events, but the Bears beat the Cougars in all six of the events with a final 9.855-point margin.

APU will host the 2017 NCATA National Championships on Thursday, April 27-29 in the Felix Event Center. The Cougars will face off against No. 4 Hawaii Pacific for the third time this season on April 27.

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