Quinnipiac acrobatics and tumbling kicks off season with NCAA Emerging Sport status

The 2020-2021 collegiate sports season brought a whole new level of firsts to programs across the country.

Masked workouts, bubbled tournaments, virtual workouts, and the constant fear of shutdowns from contact tracing and quarantines.

But for the sport of acrobatics and tumbling, this season brings a first like no other and one worth celebrating.

For the first time in its decade, the sport of acrobatics and tumbling has officially fallen under the NCAA Emerging Sport status umbrella, meaning it’s just one step closer to achieving official NCAA Championship status.

In June 2020, members of the Division I level of the NCAA approved that the sport be added to the Emerging Sports Program after receiving Division II and III approval in January. The approval came into effect on August 1, 2020.

As part of the Emerging Sports program, which helps support the promotion of collegiate athletic opportunities for women, sports have 10 years to reach 40 member schools to qualify for NCAA Championship status. As of March 15, the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association, the governing body for acrobatics and tumbling, has 37 collegiate institutions, including 35 NCAA schools, that offer the sport at the varsity level.

Despite being young, the sport has continuously shown rapid and steady growth. In the 2020 season, 650 athletes took part in the sport as five new member schools have also been added since June last year.

“We have been validated. We’ve been stamped like equestrian, like rugby, like wrestling,” said Quinnipiac head coach Mary Ann Powers. “This is honestly an 11, 12 year journey and the good news is that we are growing. What seemed sluggish at first has accelerated and it’s quite an astonishing feat of dedication set forth by our Executive Director and our Enlargement Committee.”

Powers is one of the four founders of the sport and will begin her 25th season with Quinnipiac this spring. Originally the college cheerleading coach, Powers has overseen the acrobatics and tumbling program since its inception in 2009.

Quinnipiac is ranked #3 in the 2021 NCATA Preseason Coaches’ Poll for the third straight year. The two teams above the Bobcats are No. 1 Baylor and No. 2 Oregon, both of which have already competed in two games this season.

Of the 26 schools participating this year, the Bobcats will be the third-last program to kick off the season when they open the year and participate in a tri-meet Saturday, March 27 in Frostburg State.

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