BUCKHANNON – West Virginia Wesleyan President Pamela Balch and Director of Athletics Randy Tenney are proud to announce the addition of the 22nd sport at Wesleyan – Acrobatics & Tumbling.
West Virginia Wesleyan will be the 15th program to add Acrobatics & Tumbling nationally, raising the NCAA Division II numbers to nine.
Fourteen colleges and universities currently sponsor A&T as a varsity sport (DI - 3, DII – 8, DIII – 2, NAIA - 1). Sponsorship has grown from six varsity teams in 2010 to 14 in 2016. All Acrobatics & Tumbling programs are implemented and compete as varsity programs on their respective campuses.
Regionally, Alderson-Broaddus University, Glenville State and Fairmont State University have Acrobatics & Tumbling programs.
"Recruiting for Acrobatics & Tumbling will begin immediately," remarked Tenney. "It will be an organizational year of recruiting this year and then the team will compete in 2017-18. The college plans on having a head coach in place as soon as possible."
Acrobatics & Tumbling is a discipline of USA Gymnastics.
Acrobatics & Tumbling is the evolution of different forms of gymnastics. The sport involves tumbling, tosses, acrobatic lifts and pyramids. Competitors in the sport demonstrate significant strength, power, flexibility and balance in their skill set.
The National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA) is the governing body for Acrobatics & Tumbling. The NCATA exists to provide leadership, governance, and education for the sport of Acrobatics &Tumbling at the collegiate level based on fair and safe athletic competition while continuing to expand varsity opportunities for female athletes at the collegiate level.
The NCATA is working with NCAA staff and the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics to reach NCAA emerging sports status, with the goal of reaching NCAA championship sport status.
Acrobatics & Tumbling is a spring sport with the season being allowed to start on Feb. 1. A minimum of six contests are required but not more than 14.
In the spring of 2018, Wesleyan will participate in head to head competition, in meets of two or three teams. A meet consists of six events, with a total of twenty heats. Scores are based on pre-determined start values and evaluated on the execution of skills. In any given heat, 1-24 student-athletes may be competing as individuals or in groups.
The first NCATA National Championships took place in 2011 at the University of Oregon. Championships are held annually in April on an NCATA member campus with event and team championships.
John Waltz, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Wesleyan remarked about the college's 22nd sport, "Acrobatics and Tumbling will be the newest addition to a diverse portfolio of co-curricular activities and NCAA division II sports at West Virginia Wesleyan. This program, which is met with very strong interest in our region, will continue a great partnership between athletics and enrollment in adding programs that students will thrive in as they pursue personal growth, graduation, and career success during their studies at West Virginia Wesleyan College."