© Eric Evans/University of Oregon

April 9, 2011 – The University of Oregon acrobatics and tumbling team built an early early lead that was never relinquished to top the University of Maryland in a 283.481-283.352 victory at the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association Team Championships at the University of Oregon’s Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene.

In a fitting championship matchup, the top-two teams in the preseason poll and the tournament competition did not disappoint the crowd of 1,021. Each squad showcased its own individual strengths at various points of the meet in what turned out to be a fight to the finish.

The Ducks jumped out to an early lead in a competitive compulsories round. Oregon won both the stunt (9.78-9.61) and tumbling (9.87-9.69). The teams tied in both the pyramid (9.80) and basket toss (9.65) heats to grab a 39.10-38.75 lead after the opening event.

Oregon took two of three stunt heats, the five-element (9.70-9.65) and seven-element (9.69-9.54), but Maryland posted a decisive win in the six-element heat, 9.59-9.33. The second-heat score allowed the Terrapins to creep slightly closer with a final event score of 28.78-28.72.

Oregon’s national champion pyramid lineup executed its strongest routine in any dual with a 29.65. An early bobble in Maryland’s routine dropped the Terps’ score to 28.60, which gave the Ducks a 97.470-96.130 lead at halftime.

The Ducks swept all three heats of the basket toss. Oregon’s heat scores of 9.50, 9.65 and 9.45 outdid Maryland’s totals of 9.35, 9.32 and 9.20 and equaled a 28.60-27.87 event win for Oregon.

Maryland gained ground early in tumbling, outscoring Oregon 8.72-8.35 in the duo pass and 8.65-8.53 in the trio pass to reduce the deficit. Oregon edged out Maryland in the final group pass, the quad, 8.26-8.17 to expand the lead heading into the three solo passes.

The Ducks claimed two of the three solo passes with Kelsey Rowell besting individual champion Season Daugherty, 8.60-8.35, in the ariel pass and individual champion Natasha Katzaroff winning the open pass, 9.55-9.15. The Terrapins did post a decisive, 9.50-8.60, win in the six-element pass and took the event 52.54-51.89.

The Terps’ win in tumbling trimmed the Ducks’ lead to 1.42 points heading into the team routine. Oregon opened up with a clean routine and scored a 105.521.

Maryland put together an impressive display of its own, outscoring Oregon with a 106.812. Still, the Ducks’ early lead held strong by .129 points to give Oregon the inaugural team title.

Photos by Eric Evans

Earlier in the day, the Ducks and Terrapins each put forth strong performances at the NCATA Individual Event Championships. Oregon and Maryland took 10 of the 13 individual national titles, with Oregon with six. Oregon claimed titles in the six and seven-element stunt heats, the pyramid, the last two heats of the basket toss and the open tumbling pass.

In September 2010, USA Gymnastics and NCATA announced that USA Gymnastics would sanction NCATA events. NCATA organizes collegiate team acrobatics and tumbling for women, with the goal of reaching NCAA emerging sport status. NCATA’s current member institutions are Azusa Pacific University, Baylor University, Fairmont State University, University of Maryland, University of Oregon and Quinnipiac University. NCATA athletes and coaches are members of USA Gymnastics and adhere to the rules and policies of the organization.

The all-female acrobatics and tumbling teams are recognized and treated as fully sponsored sports at their respective institutions and are in full compliance with NCAA rules and regulations. The teams range in size, with a maximum of 40 women. The purpose of an acrobatics and tumbling team is to represent a university six to eight times each season in a head-to-head competitive format against other collegiate acrobatics and tumbling teams. An NCATA meet includes six rounds – compulsory, stunt, pyramid, basket toss, tumbling and a team routine. The scoring system includes pre-determined start difficulty values for each skill in each round for consistent scoring by officials. The NCATA’s unique meet format with standardized scoring, officiating, and safety provide clear separation from other related sports or activities.

— Championships information provided by the University of Oregon, goducks.com