WACO, Texas -- Following Saturday's Individual Event Finals that opened day three of the National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling (NCATA) National Championships at the Ferrell Center in Waco, the association's awards committee announced the 2019 major awards and All-America Team.
Most Outstanding Athlete of the Year
The Most Outstanding Athlete of the Year award is presented to an exceptional athlete demonstrating the highest level of skill in acrobatics and tumbling.
The 2019 Most Outstanding Athlete is Ashley Echelberger from Baylor University. Echelberger was a standout in 12 different heats at some point this season for the Bears. She helped the bears average a score of 9.70 or higher in eight different heats this season, including six perfect scores in two different heats. She was a standout at top and tumbler for the Bears as a senior, earning NCATA Athlete of the Week honor three times during the 2019 season.
Specialist of the Year
The NCATA Specialist of the Year is awarded to an individual who excels and specializes in an individual event for her team. Each nominee is considered based on scores from one of the following events; acro, pyramid, toss, or tumbling.
The 2019 NCATA Specialist of the Year is Joie Hensley from Baylor University. Hensley shinned in the toss event, helping her team average a 9.69 in the synch toss, and a 9.84 in the open toss. As a top during toss heats, she helped Baylor to a perfect 10.0 in the open toss, and in 16 toss heats this season, she never scored below a 9.50. She scored a 9.75 or higher 11 times in the toss event and earned Specialist of the Week honors four times this season.
Freshman of the Year
The NCATA Freshman of the Year award is presented to a freshman that has excelled on the mat and has contributed to the team's success this season.
The 2019 NCATA Freshmen of the Year is Hannah Alonzo from Azusa Pacific University. Alonzo was a four-time NCATA Freshman of the Week after competing in nine heats this season. She helped APU average a 9.50 or higher in eight different heats this season, including helping the team to 19 scores of 9.75 or higher on the year.
Louise Goodrum Academic Award
The Louise Goodrum Academic Award is given annually to recognize the true meaning of student-athlete. Modeled after the NCAA's Elite 90 award, which honors the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport while also achieving the highest academic standard in her sport. In the NCATA, the award is presented to the junior or senior student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average whose team earned a berth participating in the NCATA national championship tournament.
The 2019 recipient of the Louise Goodrum Academic Award is Hannah Esterman from the University of Oregon. Esterman has a perfect 4.0 grade point average, and is a junior top and base for the Ducks.
Coach of the Year
The 2019 Coach of the Year award was presented to Kristi Kiefer of Fairmont State University. Kiefer helped lead Fairmont State to an 8-2 record and the first-ever conference championship in the sport of acrobatics & tumbling by winning the Mountain East Conference Regular Season and Tournament titles this season. The Falcons also earned their highest national tournament seeding in program history as this weekend's No. 5 seed.
In addition to the announcement of the 2019 NCATA major awards, the association also announced its 2019 All-America Team. Baylor led the way with four All-America selections, including Echelberger, Kaylee Adams, Hope Bravo, and Ceara Gray. Oregon added three selections to the All-America team, including Payton Coon, Casi Jackson and Addie Lacewell.
Azusa Pacific, Fairmont State and Quinnipiac each added two selections apiece. Alonzo and Beth Magee represented the Cougars, Karah Naples and Catherine Reynolds represented the Falcons, and Camren Diaz and Melanie Mancini each earned All-America accolades for the Bobcats.
In addition, King's Ashley Berlin, Hawaii Pacific's Makayla Garland, and Converse's Tyaeme Haughbook-Lugo each earned All-America honors.
Baylor's Ceara Gray and Kaylee Adams each earned All-America honors for the second-consecutive year, along with Hawaii Pacific's Makayla Garland, Oregon's Casi Jackson and Quinnipiac's Camren Diaz. Gray was the 2018 NCATA Most Outstanding Athlete.
NCATA Postseason Awards
Most Outstanding Athlete: Ashley Echelberger, Baylor
Specialist of the Year: Joie Hensley, Baylor
Freshman of the Year: Hannah Alonzo, Azusa Pacific
Coach of the Year: Kristi Kiefer, Fairmont State
Louise Goodrum Academic Award: Hannah Esterman, Oregon
Kaylee Adams, Baylor
Hannah Alonzo, Azusa Pacific
Ashley Berlin, King
Hope Bravo, Baylor
Payton Coon, Oregon
Camren Diaz, Quinnipiac
Ashley Echelberger, Baylor
Makayla Garland, Hawaii Pacific
Ceara Gray, Baylor
Tyaeme Haugabook-Lugo, Converse
Casi Jackson, Oregon
Addie Lacewell, Oregon
Beth Magee, Azusa Pacific
Melanie Mancini, Quinnipiac
Karah Naples, Fairmont State
Catherine Reynolds, Fairmont State