Three-time defending champion Baylor will enter the 2018 National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA) Tournament as the top seed, leading the tournament field announced on Thursday afternoon. Azusa Pacific, Quinnipiac, Oregon, Gannon, Fairmont State, Hawaii Pacific and Converse will compete for the NCATA National Championship on April 26-28 at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania.
The tournament schedule begins on April 26 with the four quarterfinal meets. Third-seed Quinnipiac and sixth-seeded Fairmont State will open the tournament at noon (EST) before a battle between No. 2 Azusa Pacific and No. 7 Hawaii Pacific at 2 p.m.. Top-seeded Baylor and No. 8 Converse will square off at 5 p.m. before No. 4 Oregon and tournament host Gannon conclude the day with a 7 p.m. meet. All the action can be viewed live courtesy of Gannon University athletics.
No. 1 Baylor
The Bears finished the regular season with an unblemished 8-0 mark, earning victories over fellow tournament teams Azusa Pacific, Converse, Fairmont State, Quinnipiac and Oregon. Baylor continues a long stint of success since head coach Felecia Mulkey joined the Bears staff in 2014, winning three consecutive national championships, four consecutive top-two seeds in the NCATA Tournament while procuring a 38-1 record over the past four seasons. The Bears averaged 281.2 points per meet this year to lead the NCATA.
No. 2 Azusa Pacific
Azusa Pacific ended the season with a 5-1 record to earn the best regular-season record in program history. The Cougars finished the year undefeated at home with two wins over Hawaii Pacific alongside victories against Quinnipiac and Converse, scoring above the 280-point park in three of their six meets on the year. Azusa Pacific averaged 277.4 points per meet this year and will aim to make the championship meet for the second time in program history at the 2018 NCATA Tournament.
No. 3 Quinnipiac
Head Coach Mary Ann Powers and the Bobcats earned a 5-2 record this season, scoring a pair of victories against Gannon alongside a road win in Eugene against Oregon. Averaging 278.9 points per meet this season, Quinnipiac has earned two consecutive semifinal appearances, but hope to make championship Saturday for the first time since 2013.
No. 4 Oregon
Heading into the tournament with a 4-3 record under the leadership of new head coach Keenyn Won, the Ducks average 277.5 points per meet and will look to make championship Saturday for the eighth consecutive year. Oregon split a tri-meet with a win over Gannon at this year's championship site, adding a road win over Hawaii Pacific with a season-high 284.660.
No. 5 Gannon
The tournament hosts closed the year winning two of their last three en route to a 5-3 record. Undefeated at the Hammermill Center this year, the Golden Knights have averaged 272.8 points per meet this season, which ranks fifth in the organization and will battle Oregon in the first round.
No. 6 Fairmont State
The Falcons earned a 6-1 record on the year to earn a spot in the tournament field. Averaging 265.9 points per meet, Fairmont State scored victories over Hawaii Pacific and Converse while concluding the regular season on a three-meet winning streak.
No. 7 Hawaii Pacific
First year head coach Haley Garelick led the Sharks to a 2-5 record while averaging 267.6 points per meet. Hawaii Pacific will enter championship weekend after going 2-2 over the final three weeks of competition.
No. 8 Converse
The Valkyries earn a tournament bid in their first season of competition, securing the eighth and final seed with a 4-3 record. Opening the year with back-to-back victories, Converse finished eighth in overall scoring with a 264.6 meet average, concluding the regular season with a 269.130-243.950 win over King University on Wednesday.
In addition to the national championship qualifiers, the NCATA has also announced the at-large qualifiers for the individual event finals. The at-large qualifiers scored the highest individual heat score among eligible teams during the regular season, and multiple programs could qualify for the championships if tying for the highest qualifying score. The remaining qualifiers for the individual event championships will be determined by the top four scores in each individual heat among the tournament qualifiers on the first day of the NCATA Tournament.
Five-Element: King (9.80)
Six-Element: Glenville State (10.0)
Seven-Element: Alderson Broaddus (9.90)
Inversion: Alderson Broaddus (9.95)
Synchronized: Alderson Broaddus, Glenville State (.990)
Open: Alderson Broaddus, Concordia University Wisconsin, Glenville State
450 Salto: Alderson Broaddus, Glenville State (9.75)
Synchronized: Alderson Broaddus (9.2)
Open: Glenville State (9.35)
Duo: Glenville State (9.15)
Aerial: Glenville State (B. D'Angelo, 9.775)
Six-Element: King (A. Berlin, 9.700)
Open: Glenville State (S. DiSpaltro, 9.80)