SIOUX FALLS, SD – The announcement came on Nov. 19, 2020 that Augustana would be adding an acrobatics and tumbling program, the first program in the region. On July 6, 2021, Kaelyn Cowani was named the Vikings’ inaugural head coach. Nov. 10, 2020 comes the first-ever signing class for the Augustana University Acrobatics & Tumbling Team.
Cowan has announced 17 signees to the program, a mixture of local talent, regional talent and nationwide talent.
“I am thrilled to have the first 17 student-athletes signed to Augustana’s acrobatics & tumbling team,” Cowan said. “This is a historic day for our program and I could not be more proud of these women. They are helping pave the way for the future of our program that will continue to provide women opportunities to compete at the highest level. This signing class has stepped into its positions of leading this new team with optimism and confidence.
“They represent nine states across the country. They come from various athletic backgrounds including artistic gymnastics, competitive cheerleading, high school cheerleading, dance and diving.”
In all, Cowan signed six student-athletes from the state of South Dakota including four from Sioux Falls. Other states represented including Texas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Illinois, Georgia, Minnesota and Colorado.
“I am excited to get them on campus in the fall of 2022 along with our future signees that we will continue to bring on board throughout the spring,” Cowan added. “I cannot wait for our community to see what this sport is all about come Spring 2023. As always, Go Vikings!”
Izzy Clay | Kingwood, Texas | Kingwood HS
Clay will compete for Kingwood High School in gymnastics for her senior season before joining the Vikings. At Augustana, Clay plans to major in business with a minor in education. Following graduation, she hopes to own her own gymnastics gym.
Johanna Dezellem | Hillsboro, Ore. | Glencoe HS
As a junior, Dezellem was a regional qualifier as a Level 9 Gymnast. During her freshman year, she was the Oregon State Floor and Beam Champion and placed second in the All-Around. While at Augustana, Dezellem plans to major in education.
MacKenzie Ferguson | Papillion, Neb. | Bellevue West Senior HS
Ferguson was a team captain for Bellevue West as a sophomore and junior. She plans to major in music performance at Augustana with hopes to perform in ensembles, jazz, concert and quartets for her career.
Mabel Hager | Bismarck, ND | Bismarck HS
As a junior, Hager was a qualifier for the North Dakota State Championships and won the floor event in the Edgewater Classic. She was also the floor event winner at the Nodak Northern Lights meet. While at Bismarck High School, Hager has earned Academic Honor Roll for three-straight years. At Augustana, she plans to earn a degree in exercise science where she hopes to work with kids and veterans in prosthetics.
Kaiti Harris | Lorena, Texas | Lorena HS
Harris comes to Augustana after a prep career featuring powerlifting. She qualified for regionals in powerlifting her junior season and led her team to a second place finish at the State Championships. She also earned a regional appearance in 2019-20 where she held first, second, third and fifth place awards. At Augustana, Harris will earn a nursing degree where she hopes to specialize in labor and delivery, neonatal, pediatrics or as an ER nurse.
Natalie Homerding | Lockport, Ill. | Lockport Township HS
During her junior season, Homerding was a Level 10 Regional Qualifier and won the Level 10 Illinois State Beam Championship. During her sophomore campaign, Homerding was the Level 10 Circle of Stars Beam Champion and has been chosen as a team captain for her senior season. While at Augustana, she plans to major in biology with a minor in psychology. Her goal is to become a physician assistant or dermatologist.
Meghan Johnson | Sioux Falls, SD | Tea Area HS
Johnson has competed as a Level 9 gymnast over the past year. Johnson will graduate from Tea Area High School in May and plans to major in mathematics wile at Augustana.
Braelyn Juve | Rapid City, SD | Sturgis Brown HS
Juve competed for Just Jymnastics while at Sturgis Brow High School as a Level 9 gymnast since her sophomore year. At Augustana, Juve plans to earn a degree in exercise science while hoping to become a licensed physical therapist.
Kylee Kerce | McDonough, Ga. | Strong Rock Christian School
A Level 10 Gymnast, Kerce comes to Augustana after competing for Stick It Gymnastics and attending Strong Rock Christian School. At Augustana, Kerce plans to earn a degree that allows her to become a physical therapist.
Carlye Larson | Hadley, Minn. | Murray County Central HS
Larson, who was born in Sioux Falls, will graduate from Murray County Central. She previously competed in gymnastics and will major in exercise science or secondary education at Augustana. Her planned career path includes becoming an athletic trainer or a high school math teacher.
Kyla Leger | Axtell, Texas | Axtell ISD
A multi-sport athletics at Axtell Independent School District, Leger qualified for the Texas Regional Track & Field Meet in the 100-meter hurdles. At Augustana, Leger plans to earn a degree that allows her to work in the criminal justice system.
Aubrie Lehmann | Sioux Falls, SD | Lincoln HS
A member of the Sioux Falls Metro Cheer Team, Lehmann has spent her senior season on the center mat where she is a three-time letter winner. While at Augustana, Lehmann will pursue an exercise science degree as she hopes to become a physical therapist.
Olivia McIlravy | Sioux Falls, SD | Brandon Valley HS
What one can consider the very first commit to the Viking acrobatics & tumbling squad, McIlravy is a student on the Augustana campus. She was a Level 10 Gymnast while competing for the Brandon Valley High School Lynx for three years and was a two-time team captain. She is currently earning a degree in communication disorders and plans to continue her education to become a speech language pathologist.
Norah Schumacher | Golden, Colo. | Golden HS
As a junior, Shuchmacher competed for Pomona High School gymnastics where she won the Colorado Level 8 State Championship in Floor and Vault. She also earned runner-up honors in the All-Around competition. She was named the Team MVP and earned First Team All-Conference accolades in the All-Around. In addition, she was named Academic All-State. While at Augustana, Schumacher plans to earn a degree in exercise science with plans to become a physical therapist.
Paige Simon | Clear Lake, SD | Deuel HS
Simon is the South Dakota All-Around State Champion in 2021 while she tallied a score of 9.475. She led Deuel High School to its fourth straight team championship. She won the State Championship in the vault with a score of 9.575, floor exercise with a 9.700, beam with a 9.475 and the bars with a 9.375.
Maggie Szerlong | St. Charles, Ill. | St. Charles East HS
Szerlong has competed as a Level 9 gymnast for the St. Charles Gymnastics Academy. She has competed for the academy since 2011 when she started as a Level 4. Szerlong is undecided on her major at Augustana but enjoys painting and reading.
Adriana Ware | Sioux Falls, SD | Lincoln HS
Ware competed for the Lincoln High School competitive cheer and dance program. At Augustana, Ware plans to earn a degree within physical therapy and minor in psychology where she wants to help motivate people in the future.