NCATA 2018 Season Outlook: New Season Set to Start on Saturday Afternoon

NCATA 2018 Season Outlook: New Season Set to Start on Saturday Afternoon

Season Outlook: Head coach Ellen Barker will lead the Bulldogs into the 2018 season, returning four letterwinners and  14 freshmen that look to help in the progression of a program headed into its fourth season of competition.

The Bulldogs join Concordia University Wisconsin as one of two Division III members of the NCATA. The lone NCATA member in Michigan, Adrian will open the season at home against West Liberty. The Bulldogs will host the Falcons of Concordia University Wisconsin in its final home meet of their six-meet season.

Hearing from Coach Ellen Barker:

Which of your returning athlete(s) will provide leadership for your team this season?

"All four returning athletes offer a different kind of leadership. I have two returning seniors and two returning juniors.  Lauren Aiello is one of the most coachable athletes on my team.  Nikki Abramczyk charges ahead into any challenge and brings her team with her. My juniors, Jenni Wheaton and Brittany Archambeau are both looked up to by our newcomers as well."

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide an immediate impact for your team this season? 

"This young team is excited to prove themselves and it shows every day at practice. A few newcomers who have really stepped up to the challenge are Cheyenne Franklin, Rachel Morgan, and Alissa Ruder. Alissa and Cheyenne are both extremely versatile athletes. Rachel is a strong base and extremely driven both in and out of practice."

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why?

"I'm looking forward to team event this year and the opportunity to be competitive. I am also very excited about our acro event. It is our strength and we have plans in place to increase difficulty throughout the season." 

Talk about your schedule and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season? 

"We have a lot of competitions on the schedule that will test our team. Half of our meets are against Division II schools.  It will take a lot of preparation and focus in order to contend with these teams. We are also excited to see Concordia-Wisconsin twice this year, the only other Division III program competing this year."

 

Season Outlook: Alderson Broaddus will compete under first-year head coach Brandi Hanford, a member of the 2015 NCATA National Championship team at Baylor University. The Battlers are coming off a 5-2 record in 2017, which allowed Alderson Broaddus to earn the sixth seed in the NCATA National Tournament.

Despite the loss of 2017 All-American Alia Nolan, the Battlers return 15 letterwinners to the mat in 2018. ABU will open the season on Sunday, Feb. 4 on the road at defending national champion Baylor. The Battlers will then open their home schedule on Feb. 24 with a showdown with Quinnipiac. 

Former Alderson Broaddus Acrobatics & Tumbling standout Emily Hosler also joined Hanford's staff as an assistant coach over the summer. Hosler was a student assistant for the Battlers last season.

Hearing from Coach Brandi Hanford: 

Which of your returning athlete(s) will provide leadership for your team this season?

"All of our seniors have shown great leadership. However, senior Alanna Kelley is one of the strongest leaders on the team. She does a great job of leading by example in tough situations, and is a calming face/voice for her teammates." 

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide an immediate impact for your team this season?

"There have been a lot of position changes amongst our team this year. This makes almost everyone on the team a newcomer to their area. We are continually impressed by the versatility this team has shown during preseason workouts."

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why?

"We are very excited for each of the Acro heats. Our girls have shown some strong, consistent acro thus far."

Talk about your schedule and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season?

"We are going to have a tough schedule this year. Each of the teams we play is going to challenge us. Our team is very new to the positions they are in this year, but we are excited for the challenges of a team full of newcomers."

 

Season Outlook: The Cougars capped the 2017 season with a 272.735-271.095 comeback win over Hawaii Pacific in the NCATA Quarterfinals to provide a special finish to a 3-5 season with a semifinal berth. Azusa Pacific returns 2017 All-American Ashleigh Pitts, who will head to the mat for her senior season and anchor a lineup that features 18 returners and nine newcomers.

Azusa Pacific scored a pair of wins last March, including a season-high 286 points against Concordia University Wisconsin. The Cougars will face a 2018 schedule highlighted by three matchups against 2017 Tournament Qualifiers, including road trips to Hawaii Pacific (Mar. 2) and Baylor (Mar. 24). Azusa Pacific opens the season at home against Hawaii Pacific on Feb. 6.

Which of your returning athlete(s) will provide leadership for your team this season?

Our captains, Ashleigh Pitts, Jamie Nolta, and MaryKate Cacchione, have done a great job providing leadership for the returning core while also helping bring along our nine newcomers.

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide an immediate impact for your team this season?

We envision all of our newcomers contributing, and hopefully the potential we've seen in Katrina Gonzalez and Beth Magee will translate into performance during the season.

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why?

Our tosses should improve and I'm hoping to see better scores in tosses even with lower start values. We're excited about the progress we've seen in group tumbling so far. Our group tumbling passes should have a higher start value, and we're excited to see those in competition.

Talk about your schedule, and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season?

I think our meets against Hawaii Pacific and Quinnipiac are always very competitive with similar start values. We're focused on our opener against Hawaii Pacific, but the demanding stretch of our schedule is the month of March. After traveling to Hawaii Pacific, we come home to take on Quinnipiac before another tough road trip to Baylor without much time in between each of those meets. That's the portion of the schedule that's really going to test us and give us an idea of where we are as a team this year. 

Season Outlook: The Bears enter 2018 after capturing its third consecutive NCATA National Championship last April, defeating Oregon, 279.350-275.625 to win the championship. Baylor is 30-1 over the past three seasons under the leadership of head coach Felecia Mulkey and will enter the 2018 campaign with 23 returners and 15 newcomers.

Despite the loss of two-time NCATA Most Outstanding Athlete Kiara Nowlin, Baylor returns a pair of NCATA All-Americans in seniors Shayla Moore and Lauren Sturm. Returning many components of the team's tournament and individual event championship pedigree, the Bears will rely on seasoned experience to help mentor a talented group of freshmen to bolster the elite profile of the program.

Baylor will start the season at home against Alderson Broaddus, welcoming Oregon to Waco for a national championship rematch on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. The Bears and Ducks will close the season in Eugene 

Hearing from Coach Felecia Mulkey:

Which of your returning athlete(s) will provide leadership for your team this season?  

"Specifically, Shayla Moore and Allie Alaman. However, we have a very tightly-knit senior class (which includes Shayla and Allie) that is doing a great job of setting the tone for the team in every aspect."

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide an immediate impact for your team this season?  

"Morgan Celum is a base who is already doing big things but is nowhere near reaching her potential. Brianna Harris will be one of the most dynamic tumblers in the NCATA over the next four years." 

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why?   

"We will have some new faces in the tumbling and toss events, which is very exciting for us."   

Talk about your schedule and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season? 

"We added a couple of extra meets to our schedule this season.  This will be great for experience and repetition for the team but can be tricky with recovery time. Playing Oregon twice in the regular season with the potential to meet them again in the national tournament is always a challenge. This year we play Quinnipiac in Connecticut, this is an early meet for us and it is a tough place to play. All of the teams and programs across the country have improved immensely over the past year.  We really don't have a downtime this season, it is just one good team after another.  We will have to stay on our toes."

 

 

Season Outlook: Head coach Sarah Koenig returns to Mequon for her second season at the helm of the Falcons' program. Last year, Concordia University Wisconsin went 4-2, starting the season on a three-meet winning streak. The Falcons posted a season-high 253.115 in a setback to Azusa Pacific on Mar. 15 but hit the 245-point plateau in their final two meets of the year, earning victories over Georgetown and Adrian.

Coach Koenig and assistant coach Mikea Knox, both NCATA alumna, will mentor a team that returns 12 student-athletes while welcoming six more to the sport. The Falcons will face a difficult schedule that includes matchups against four 2017 NCATA Tournament qualifying teams beginning with a road meet against Gannon on Feb. 3.

CUW will host four consecutive high-profile meets inside the confines of the R. John Buuck Field House, including matchups with Oregon (Feb. 5), Baylor (Feb. 10), Azusa Pacific (Feb. 12) and Georgetown (Mar. 5).

Hearing from Coach Sarah Koenig:

Which of your returning athlete(s) will provide leadership for your team this season?

"Two of the returning athletes who will really be providing leadership for this young program this year are senior Alana Polsfuss and junior Anna Smith. Each of our athletes provides their own leadership role to the team as we do not designate team captains however both of these athletes prove to be role models and people the team can look up to through their hard work at practice and encouragement of their peers." 

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide an immediate impact for your team this season?

"We have been very fortunate to add a handful of talented newcomers to our roster this year. Amanda Ranchau (Jr.) has just taken up Acro and Tumbling this Fall and has already made significant improvements in her basing abilities. She shows a lot of potential for growth and quickly learns new skills. I'm really excited to see what she, and all of our newcomers, bring to the mat this season."

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why?

"The events that I am most excited about this year is the acro event and team event. We have really been able to clean up their skills and have a good foundation to start out this season. We have a lot of upgrades we are planning on implementing as the season goes on."

Talk about your schedule and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season?  

"Our schedule this year is packed with action. We have a total of eight meets, four of which take place within the first two weeks of the season. We have the amazing opportunity to host the University of Oregon as well as Baylor University at our campus. We also have a multi‐stop spring break trip lined up traveling from Adrian (Michigan) straight to King (Tennessee). Overall, I am very excited about the variety of schools we are facing as I think it will give the team a really good opportunity to experience competition at all levels of this sport. I know they aren't taking this year for granted."

Season Outlook: Head Coach Keegan Johnson will propel the Valkyries to their first season of competition after announcing the sport two years ago. The inaugural roster features 23 student-athletes set to compete in an eight-meet schedule, beginning with a trip to Bristol, Tenn. to battle King University.

Converse will host its first meet in program history on Feb. 27, when the Valkyries host Gannon University for the first of three consecutive home meets.

Hearing from Coach Keegan Johnson:

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide immediate impact for your team this season?

"Having a team of 23 freshmen who have never competed in the sport, I am extremely impressed with all the of my athlete's ability to adapt and learn our sport so quickly. Delaney Weaver, Breana Clarke, and Taylor Rezendes are three athletes who have really shown they are standouts and we feel will be successful in acrobatics and tumbling for years to come. They have proven to be extremely versatile, and their skillsets have proven to be invaluable for a first-year team."

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why?

"We are most excited about our acro events. We have made tremendous progress since our first days of practice and are excited to show the growth and versatility among our heats." 

Talk about your schedule, and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season?

"I believe we are going to have a solid first-year. My goal is to be as competitive as possible throughout our first season and continue to progress each meet. When we first received our schedule, we knew this would be a challenging year, especially with all of our meets being against well-established teams. My main desire for this team is to perform to the best of their abilities and ensure they compete clean events each time they go out on the mat."

 

 

Season Outlook: Davis & Elkins will host its first-ever meet on Monday, Feb. 5 against fellow first-year program West Virginia Wesleyan. D&E head coach Shelby Armstrong came to Elkins after a standout career at the University of Oregon under head coaches Felecia Mulkey and Chelsea Shaw.

Armstrong competed for four national titles at Oregon, winning twice as a freshman and sophomore with the program. She was also two-time national champion in event finals while with then Ducks.

D&E will compete against two NCATA Tournament teams during its inaugural season, including Hawaii Pacific and King University.

Hearing from Coach Shelby Armstrong:

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide an immediate impact for your team this season?

"The most impressive newcomer has been first, our walk-on Lydia Nelson. She came in here with zero experience in gymnastics or cheerleading and blew everyone off the mat with her strength and her constant desire to be better in whichever event she is in. I also have quite a few girls who have shown great leadership and determination on the floor so it is hard to only pick a few. With a full team of newcomers, they have all done a great job figuring out this sport and finding their strengths and weaknesses. You'll see a pair of girls, Cheyenna Jones and Caitlynn Guzman, in a lot of events together. They were acrobatic gymnasts their whole lives, and oddly enough, live on the same street. They do really well in Acro and Pyramid events together so you will see a lot from them this season."

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why?

"I would say our five-, six- and seven-element acro is what I am most excited about. We have always been really strong at the harder skills, and struggle with the easy skills. Our acro events really show the strength these girls have and their careful attention to perfect execution of skills."

Talk about your schedule and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season?

"Our biggest challenge, like most new first year teams, is having a small roster. Right now, if we lose someone we have to adjust everything and sometimes completely remove events or segments. The girls have really come together to make it work and are throwing themselves into positions they aren't necessarily comfortable with in order to do so. That's a big part of this sport, being versatile. We are mainly competing against new schools in this year's meet schedule, so the competition will be pretty equal."

 

 

Season Outlook: Fairmont State returns 23 letterwinners and adds seven newcomers to this year's roster after just missing the NCATA Tournament a season ago.

Despite missing out on the NCATA Tournament in 2017, the Falcons had four heats qualify for individual event finals, with the six-element acro winning an individual event title. The Falcons lost just three seniors last season and have a seven-member senior class this season.

Fairmont State will open the season on Feb. 23 on the road against West Virginia Wesleyan, before returning home to meet Alderson Broaddus on Wednesday, Feb. 28. The Falcons will compete against a pair of NCATA Tournament teams this season, including Hawaii Pacific at home and reigning national champion Baylor on the road.

Hearing from head coach Kristi Kiefer:

Which of your returning athlete(s) will provide leadership for your team this season?

"With many returning athletes and a senior class of seven, I am pleased with the leadership role that these veterans have taken on throughout the preseason. Each have strengths in different areas and have worked well together to providing leadership for our team. I am very pleased with how they have responded and embraced this responsibility."

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide an immediate impact for your team this season?

"I am excited to see the impact our newcomers have on the mat. Caitlyn Faint and Lexi Smith are two that will take on event roles in tumbling this season, which will help the team in event and team scores."

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why?

"The tumbling heats are events that I am excited for this this year. We have increased our depth in this area and continue to improve on a daily basis. We focused on tumbling very heavily during recruiting, and with the addition of some key individuals in this class, I look for our tumbling scores in duo, trio, and quad to improve this season."

Talk about your schedule and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season?

"With the growth of our sport, the NCATA is rapidly increasing in size, particularly on the east coach. With the addition of many new schools from the Mountain East Conference as well as in the surrounding states, our travel has become more accommodating. We also have a home meet with Hawaii Pacific, a NCATA Tournament participant a year ago, and we travel to defending national champion Baylor for a regular season meet this season."

 

 

Season Outlook: Gannon, the host of the 2018 NCATA National Championship Tournament, will be under new head coach Jacquie Eshleman this season. Eshleman came to Gannon after building the Alderson Broaddus program from scratch over the last four seasons. Under Eshleman, the Battlers made four NCATA national tournament appearances, securing the program's first individual national event title last season. She was also named the NCATA Coach of the Year in 2015.

Three-time NCATA All-American Alia Nolan also begins her first season as an assistant coach for the Knights, after her standout career under Eshleman at ABU. 

Gannon returns 21 letterwinners to a team that went 3-5 in dual meets and earned the seventh seed in the NCATA Tournament a season ago. Gannon's Hayley Nejman earned NCATA All-American honors a season ago and returns for her senior season this spring. Gannon will open the season on Saturday afternoon with a home meet against Concordia University Wisconsin. 

Hearing from Coach Jacquie Eshleman: 

Which of your returning athlete(s) will provide leadership for your team this season?  

"This program has really progressed mentally, especially in the leadership department. We have seen strong leadership from seniors Chelsea Cowan and Micheala Soper, as well as multiple other athletes including junior, Mikayla Vecchio, and sophomores Gina Pergolizzi and Brenna Schuler."

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide an immediate impact for your team this season?

"As a first-year head coach, they are all newcomers to me, but as for freshman, Danielle Samuel has really stepped up in the tumbling department for our team. We have also seen huge improvements from seniors Chelsea Cowan and Kelsey LeClair, junior Kelsey McGarvey, sophomores Nicole Pizzi and Meghan Hughes. This team as a whole has come so far from where they were in September."

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why?  

"Compulsories. I think that has always been a struggle for this team in the past, and I am really excited to see these athletes execute that event and make it our best. I am also excited for the Toss event; we have made a lot of positive strides in that event this preseason, so I'm excited to watch our athletes "amaze" in those heats as well."

Talk about your schedule and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season?

"The biggest challenge this year has been training our athletes to mentally lean on each other to have success. All our athletes are exceptionally bright young women who are very independent, so teaching them to lean on each other, and seeing that as a sign of strength and not weakness, has been a huge challenge for us, but one that all our athletes have been very receptive too."

"As far as competition wise, one of our biggest challenges of the season will be competing at Oregon against the Ducks and Quinnipiac in a tri-meet. Both are strong programs, so I am looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity it provides my athletes to compete in Matthew Knight Arena against two powerhouse programs." 

 

Season Outlook: Beginning their second season as a member of the NCATA, Georgetown College will return four student-athletes while debuting 12 newcomers after last year's inaugural campaign, which saw the Tigers finish 1-5.

Georgetown will open the season in a tri-meet against Glenville State and Converse on Feb. 16 before traveling to Concordia University Wisconsin for a meet in early March. The Tigers will close the home slate on Mar. 24 against Adrian before concluding the regular season on the road with meets against Glenville State (Apr. 6) and West Virginia Wesleyan (Apr. 7). 

Hearing from Coach Alicia Castagneto:

Which of your returning athlete(s) will provide leadership for your team this season?  

Two of our sophomores, Maya Kirkpatrick and Kenzi Daugherty, will be strong leaders for our team on and off the mat. With versatility and a season of competing under their belt, they truly embody what it means to have Tiger Pride and perseverance.  They have helped bond this team together and we look forward to them leading the newcomers as our season gets underway.

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide an immediate impact for your team this season?  

"We have been really impressed with Nicole Hansen and Mika Gray. Nicole has really shown her abilities to step into any position we need and maintain a strong work ethic during practice. Mika is one of our strongest bases and her improvement in strength will really step up our pyramids this season. Their continued development has helped drive the team to be stronger as a whole."

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why? 

"We are really looking forward to our Acro heats this season. With a stronger skill set and the teams drive for success, we have made major improvements. The girls have set goals for themselves which have already surpassed my expectations. With some key leaders stepping up, I expect to see more confident, consistent and stronger Acro heats than last season."

Talk about your schedule and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season? 

"Our schedule this season will allow us to revisit some of our competitors from last season. We are excited to go up against them and see what improvements we have all made. Them team and I are excited to travel to some of our newest NCATA editions and compete as well. We love seeing this sport grow and that we are part of that growing history. Our challenges this season stem from us having a very young team and a smaller roster than some of our competitors. With so many fresh collegiate athletes, we only have a few season team members to teach everyone the ropes. I am sure though that by the end of season, everyone will feel strong and confident as they take the mat."

 

Season Outlook: Glenville State will open the season under its third head coach in three seasons on Friday, Feb. 16 with a tri-meet against Georgetown and Converse. Sarah Moreno takes over the GSC program after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Oregon from 2011 to 2015 – winning three national titles with the Ducks.

The Pioneers finished the 2017 season with a 2-4 overall record, scoring a season-high 256.51 in a win at Georgetown College. 

Glenville State added seven newcomers to a core group of 13 returning letter winners for this season. Five of Glenville's six meets will take place in the state of West Virginia, including a showdown with NCATA Tournament qualifier Alderson Broaddus on Saturday, Mar. 17. 

Hearing from Head Coach Sarah Moreno:

Which of your returning athlete(s) will provide leadership for your team this season?

"Thus far, all upperclassmen have done an outstanding job embracing their leadership roles both inside and outside of the gym. With a coaching change came an entirely new culture, vision and set of expectations. The entire group of veterans fully bought into this culture change and have come together to use their personal strengths to uplift, push and guide the team in a positive direction."

"Specifically, senior Britteny Durham and juniors Brianna D'Angelo, Jackie Deary and Julia Lindberg have taken team responsibilities upon themselves and have done an exceptional job leading not only verbally, but most importantly, by example. They set the tone for the team inside and outside of the gym." 

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide an immediate impact for your team this season?

"I have been extremely impressed with how the entire team has accepted challenges and obstacles that I have thrown at them throughout the preseason. We have a strong class of newcomers that will prove highly valuable to our program not only this year but in coming years as well."

"Specifically, I have been impressed with freshman Cali Hayes and sophomore Larissa Hayman. Cali, a walk-on we picked up in mid-September will be asked to play a critical role in numerous events this season. Her mental toughness is unwavering, and her work ethic is unparalleled. She makes our team stronger in so many ways. Her future in this sport is very bright and I can't wait to watch her flourish this season and in years to come.

"Hayman is another addition who came in with no Acro experience but has worked diligently to make herself an asset and a go-to in pyramid, toss and team routine. Her positive attitude and desire to improve every day is a true testament to her ongoing success and impact on this team."

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why?

"I am excited for the team to showcase their overall improvement in their start values and execution throughout the entire meet this season. Specifically, I fell the team has made mass improvements in the Acro, Pyramid and Toss Events in terms of both start value, execution, and consistency. I am excited for them to showcase their growth in these areas this season."

Talk about your schedule and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season?

"We are fortunate enough to be surrounded geographically, and therefore pushed by many NCATA schools in our own Mountain East Conference and in neighboring conferences. Additionally, this year we have the unique opportunity to compete in three tri-meets. This will allow us to see and compete against a vast array of teams, and again will allow us to put our skills up against many teams in the sport of Acrobatics & Tumbling."

 

 

Season Outlook: The Sharks enter a new era with the hiring of former Oregon Duck Haley Garelick as the second head coach in program history after Keenyn Won became the new head coach in Eugene during the offseason. Garelick added former Oregon student-athletes Natalie Jaynes and Krista Phillips to her staff, which features 12 returners and 13 newcomers.

Last year, the Sharks finished 6-2 and were the fifth seed in the NCATA Tournament. Despite a setback to Azusa Pacific in the quarterfinals, Hawaii Pacific captured three individual event championships, earning hardware in the five-element acro, pyramid flip and pyramid release.

Senior Daisha Paulino, who earned NCATA All-American honors last season, will return to assist a high-powered Shark offense. Hawaii Pacific finished every meet last season with scores above 270 points, including a season-high 284.745 against Gannon in the regular season finale on Apr. 14.

Hawaii Pacific will open the season with back-to-back road meets against Azusa Pacific (Feb. 6) and Oregon (Feb. 9) before hosting Azusa Pacific on Mar. 2. The Sharks will close the regular season at home on Mar. 26 against Oregon. 

Hearing from Head Coach Haley Garelick:

Which of your returning athlete(s) will provide leadership for your team this season?

"I believe that every athlete possesses some sort of leadership role on this team. Each and every athlete has the ability to impact on and off the mat. I am confident that they will continue to instill a dynamics within the team to strive to get the most out of themselves and within each other, throughout our season. Senior, Daisha Paulino carries such a poise and confidence about her and is definitely one to keep your eye on as a main leader for this team. In addition, sophomore, Makayla Garland has stepped up as a major vocal leader for this team and shows her teammates day in and day out her heart and passion for this sport. "

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide an immediate impact for your team this season?

"This freshmen class has been extremely exciting to work with. The talent and depth they bring is a milestone for the future success of this program. A number of freshmen are playing, yet Peyton Frazier has been extremely impressive and will be providing an immediate impact for our team this season. She has stepped up in all areas, as she has been extremely versatile. She will be seen on the mat as a top, back, and tumbler."

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why?

"The event we are all most excited for this season will have to be the team event. There is a lot of growth we can still bring to this event, but this team is excited to come out and execute a higher start value than normal. This event is also the event that incorporates the majority of the team. They are able to feed off of each other's energies and truly put it all on the mat, together. Acro heats are also a big strength of ours and we are motivated to reach our team goals for the season."

Talk about your schedule and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season.

"We definitely are going up against some tough teams, which will also make it that much more fun. We compete against Azusa Pacific University and the University of Oregon twice. They are both strong programs, which will make for some tough competition. We head to the east coast during our Spring Break trip, which will be an adjustment due to weather and time change. In addition, if we pull through and make it to the National Championship this season, we will be heading to the east coast for a second time, creating the same challenges we would face in our previous trip. We are excited to take on the challenges and see what this season has in store for us."

 

 

Season Outlook: New head coach Miranda Merkison assumes the role of King acrobatics and tumbling head coach after the departure of Megan Bamford in the offseason. The Tornado qualified for the NCATA Tournament as the No. 8 seed last year with a 2-5 record but return eight student-athletes while welcoming 14 newcomers to the roster.

Despite losing 2017 Louise Goodrum Academic Achievement Award recipient Emily Powers (recently named Belmont Abbey head coach), King will return seniors Tosha Banks and Maya Fuller.

Opening the season at home on Feb. 11 against Converse, the Tornado will remain in Bristol, Tennessee for three of their first four meets. A matchup between King and Gannon on Feb. 25 will provide an early look at tournament scenarios as last year's No. 7 (Gannon) and No. 8 (King) seeds will clash in a meeting of Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) programs.

King will face a tough finish to the year with back-to-back road meets to conclude the regular season at Alderson Broaddus (Mar. 25) and Converse (Apr. 11).

Hearing from Head Coach Miranda Merkison

Which of your returning athlete(s) will provide leadership for your team this season?

"Senior Maya Fuller has provided great leadership with not only her skills but her attitude. Maya has helped the team overcome adversity with a new coaching staff and has held her head high through every situation."

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide an immediate impact for your team this season?

"Elizabeth White has been an impressive athlete in fall practices. She has led the team verbally and has used her talents on and off the mat. She is going to be a great asset this year in acro and in tumbling heats."

Talk about your schedule and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season?

"We are excited about our schedule this year. There will be some challenges as we expect close meets with Gannon University and Alderson Broaddus. We are looking forward to seeing Converse as they start a new season in which we are expecting them to be of great competition for our team. We have been through some challenges with a new coaching staff and having 14 newcomers into this sport as well as some unexpected injuries. But with that said, we have some great talent this year with tumbling and we are excited to see where this season goes!"

 

 

Season Outlook: After finishing as national runner-up in each of the last three seasons, Oregon will enter the 2018 season under new head coach and former Oregon student-athlete Keenyn Won, previously the head coach at Hawaii Pacific.

The Ducks will return 23 letterwinners and combine them with a large class of 15 newcomers this season. Taylor Galvin will return this season afteearningng NCATA All-American honors as a junior in 2017.

In addition to finishing just short of a national title in 2017 (falling to Baylor in the National Championship match), the Ducks also won individual event titles in four events and recorded a season-high score of 288.425 in a regular season match against Fairmont State.

Six of Oregon's seven meets will be against teams that qualified for the national tournament a season ago, including a home-and-home series with both Baylor and Hawaii Pacific. Oregon was the only team last season to defeat Baylor in a dual meet, as the teams faced off three times. 

Hearing from Head Coach Keenyn Won

Which of your returning athlete(s) will provide leadership for your team this season?

"Although we have a very young team, we are also returning a very strong senior class that includes Alexis Cross, Taylor Galvin, Annelyse Robinson and Kaylee Nicklos. All four of our seniors are key athletes both physically and mentally for the team this season and each one has stepped up in different ways. We are looking forward to them helping lead the team this season and provide a strong foundation for our underclassmen to build on in future years."

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide an immediate impact for your team this season?

"Our freshmen class has embraced this sport and have progressed tremendously throughout our preseason training. Calyx Hampton and Addie Lacewell have proven to be fundamental athletes in the Acro, Pyramid, Toss and Team Events.  We also have Daria Osborn and Caitlynn Emick, who have both brought in a strong background in tumbling and contribute heavily in a number of heats throughout the meet."

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why?

"Oregon has always been known for our strong second half, and this season, we focused on cleaning up our first half and gaining those points back that we've given up in previous seasons. I'm not sure if we can pick just one event, but more so two with acro and pyramid. We have spent a large chunk of our preseason training diving into the technical aspects of those events and we've seen it pay off in the skills we're planning to use in both events. We also discussed as a team on choosing the right skills for our athletes to excel in. You can definitely see a lot of improvement and we're looking forward to seeing our training pay off in our scores this season."

Talk about your schedule and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season?

"Our schedule this season will have its challenges, but our team is excited and ready for every opponent we will see. Our first week will be tough with two meets in one week starting in Wisconsin on Monday and then heading back home for our first home meet of the season on Friday. Once we have those first two meets under our belts we have a little under two weeks to make any necessary adjustments before heading to Baylor. We are looking forward to how our schedule is set up this season with time between meets to continue to increase our start values and focus on execution points. Our goal is to continue to improve our scores throughout the season and peak at the right time."

 

 

Season Outlook: A motivated roster sparked by the return of four senior captains look to push Quinnipiac to its best season yet in 2018, a year removed from a NCATA Tournament semifinal appearance.

The Bobcats fell to eventual national champion Baylor to finish the year with a 6-3 record and lose a pair of NCATA All-Americans in Kelsey Rule and Allie Tallman. However, a strong corps of returners and a group of seven newcomers look to make a mark in 2018.

Opening the season at home on Feb. 18 against Baylor in an NCATA Semifinal rematch, Quinnipiac will face a fellow 2017 tournament-qualifying team in all six-regular season meets this year. Key meets include a trip to Eugene on Mar. 11 to take on Oregon, a return to the site of last year's championships on Mar. 13 to battle Azusa Pacific and the home finale on Apr. 8 against 2018 NCATA Tournament host Gannon.  

Hearing from Head Coach Mary Ann Powers:

Which of your returning athlete(s) will provide leadership for your team this season?   

"Jenna Adams, Alyssa O'Connor, Abby Ziser, Samantha Gormley, Grace Manthey, and Stephanie Van Albert."

Which newcomers have been the most impressive during fall/spring practice, and will provide an immediate impact for your team this season?  

"Cassidy Osher and Marisa Bruno."

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why?  

"The toss event is an event where we typically excel and as we continue to strive for new and improved training for all three heats."

Talk about your schedule and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season?  

"Facing the reigning National Champion Baylor University for our first meet of the season is motivating and we are looking forward to an impressive home fan base.  As the NCATA increases the opportunities for women, we are looking forward to our greatly expanded field of competition."

 

 

Season Outlook: West Liberty is another first-year program from the state of West Virginia and is one of five programs from the Mountain East Conference to join the NCATA. The Hilltoppers are under first-year head coach Treasure Fields, a former standout on the acrobatics and tumbling team at Concordia University Wisconsin.

The Hilltoppers will open the season on Sunday, Feb. 11 with a dual meet against fellow first-year program West Virginia Wesleyan. West Liberty will compete against a pair of NCATA Tournament teams in their first year of competition, including Hawaii Pacific and Gannon.

Hearing from Head Coach Treasure Fields: 

Which of your returning athlete(s) will provide leadership for your team this season?  

"Melissa Davis, Kenzie Kyle and Alexis Murphy will provide great leadership for us in our inaugural season. They have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities throughout the start of our program and continue to push their teammates to be better every single day."

Which event/heat are you most excited for (did you make the most improvement) this season, why?

"The event I am most excited about is the acro event. The team has progressed extremely well in acro throughout the preseason. It will be exciting to see it all come together in a competition this February."

Talk about your schedule and the challenges that are ahead of your team this season?  

"Our schedule provides us the opportunity to compete against a great mix of student-athletes. We will face newer programs like West Virginia Wesleyan and Davis & Elkins while also watching and learning from established programs like Hawaii Pacific. As a first-year program, the biggest challenge with our schedule will likely be learning the meet day process and adjusting. We have practiced a great deal throughout the fall and spring, but nothing compares to that first gameday experience." 

 

The Bobcats enter their first season of competition under the leadership of head coach Courtney Pate. Featuring a roster of 23 student-athletes, West Virginia Wesleyan will begin its inaugural season against another first-year program on Feb. 5 when the Bobcats make the 35-minute drive across Route 48 to battle Davis & Elkins.

West Virginia Wesleyan's first home meet will take place on Feb. 23, when the Bobcats welcome Fairmont State to Rockafeller Arena. The Bobcats will hold a total of three home meets throughout the year, hosting Adrian College on Mar. 1 before closing the year at home against Georgetown on Apr. 7.