Two-time National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA) Champion Baylor was named the favorite to repeat in 2017, finishing first in the NCATA Preseason Coaches' Poll, announced on Thursday afternoon.
Securing 12 of the 13 first place votes, Baylor closed out the poll with 168 total points, 11 ahead of Oregon, which finished second and earned the final first-place vote. Quinnipiac, Hawaii Pacific and Azusa Pacific rank third through fifth, respectively, while Fairmont State ranked sixth. The top four teams were the four semifinalists from the 2016 NCATA Tournament, held in Waco last April.
Baylor head coach Felecia Mulkey returns rising senior Kiara Nowlin, the 2016 NCATA Most Outstanding Player and two-time NCATA All-American, along with two-time All-American Shayla Moore. The Bears defeated Oregon, 286.375-282.305, in last season's NCATA National Championship in front of a passionate home crowd, and aim for their third consecutive title this season.
Oregon, a constant in the NCATA National Championship picture throughout the history of the organization, return junior Taylor Galvin, a two-time NCATA Individual National Champion, and all five members of the NCATA National Champion heat one toss team.
Quinnipiac head coach Mary Ann Powers, the 2016 NCATA Coach of the Year, will lead the Bobcats, who qualified for the tournament semifinals and won two individual event national championships at last year's NCATA National Championships. Hawaii Pacific, who captured four individual event titles in 2016, return several components from last year's team, including 2016 Louise Goodrum Academic Achievement Award recipient Nicole Saiki. Quinnipiac closed the poll with 136 points, followed by 125 points for Hawaii Pacific.
Azusa Pacific, which will host the 2017 NCATA Championships this April, will enter the 2017 campaign ranked fifth with 124 points. Fairmont State, Alderson Broaddus and Gannon finished sixth through eighth, respectively, while King and Concordia University Wisconsin placed ninth and 10th.
Four new head coaches across the NCATA will debut this year, including Concordia University Wisconsin's Sarah Koenig, Glenville State's Amanda McGill and Adrian's Ellen Barker. Alicia Castagneto and the Georgetown College Tigers will embark upon their inaugural season.
Georgetown and Concordia University Wisconsin will kick off the 2017 campaign at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, before Gannon University hosts the first tri-meet of the season when the Golden Knights welcome Adrian and Glenville State at 6 p.m.
2017 NCATA Preseason Coaches' Poll
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