Release Contributed by Mountain East Conference
BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. -- The Mountain East Conference has announced the addition of Acrobatics & Tumbling to its list of championship sports, becoming the first NCAA conference to sponsor the sport, expanding the conference's championship offering to 20.
The 2019 Mountain East Conference Acrobatics & Tumbling will be held the first week in April on a campus of an MEC institution.
The National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA) is the governing body for the sport at the collegiate level. All NCATA events are sanctioned through USA Gymnastics. Currently, 23 schools across the country sponsor acrobatics and tumbling in Divisions I, II and III, including five in the Mountain East Conference. The NCATA has conducted a national championship for the sport since 2011 and is actively pursuing NCAA emerging sport status.
"We are thrilled to be the first NCAA conference to support a championship in this sport," said Commissioner Reid Amos. "Acrobatics & Tumbling provides great opportunities for women and we are quickly learning what a high level of demand there is among young women for this sport. We are very impressed with the growth and development of Acrobatics & Tumbling over recent years, specifically in this region of the country. We are looking forward to providing student-athletes the opportunity to compete for a MEC championship and supporting NCATA's efforts to achieve NCAA emerging sport status."
Currently, MEC members Fairmont State, Glenville State, West Liberty and West Virginia Wesleyan are active members of the NCATA. Urbana University announced the addition of the sport in June 2017 and will begin competition in 2019.
"Commissioner Amos and current members in the Mountain East Conference have been incredible partners in our growth as a sport in their region and beyond," said Dr. Renee Baumgartner, NCATA President and Director of Athletics at Santa Clara University. "We are thrilled to partner with the MEC to sponsor a conference championship in our sport and look forward to the additional competitive opportunities and recognition this will bring to student-athletes next season."
"This is another huge milestone for Acrobatics & Tumbling as we continue to expand the sport across the country," said Janell Cook, NCATA Executive Director. "The MEC will be a leader for further conference development as growth continues in the next few years."
The addition of the MEC as a competitive conference marks a historic milestone for the sport of acrobatics and tumbling. In 2016, the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) formed the first acrobatics and tumbling conference in their league's history, a conference that is currently in its second season of existence. Wednesday's announcement by the Mountain East Conference marks the first time in NCATA history that a single-division conference will offer an acrobatics and tumbling conference championship.
Teams compete head-to-head in six different events: Compulsory (four heats), Acro (three heats), Pyramid (three heats), Toss (three heats), Tumbling (six heats) and Team (one heat). Scores are based on pre-determined start values and evaluated on the execution of the skills.