Wingate, N.C. – Wingate University is adding acrobatics and tumbling as the University’s 25th intercollegiate sport, president Dr. Rhett Brown and director of athletics Kelley Kish have announced. The University family will welcome the first acrobatics and tumbling team members to campus in the fall of 2023. The Bulldogs’ first competition will occur in early 2024.

“It’s always exciting when we’re able to offer Wingate students additional experiences, whether it’s in the classroom or on the field competing,” Brown says. “Our inclusion of acrobatics and tumbling means more women have a chance to compete in what the NCAA has identified as an emerging sport. I’m looking forward to watching this new program grow and flourish alongside our many other successful teams.”

Wingate is the 42nd NCAA school to sponsor acrobatics and tumbling as an intercollegiate sport.
Twenty-nine of the 42 institutions are members of Division II, like Wingate. The Bulldogs are the ninth DII school in the Carolinas with the sport, joining South Atlantic Conference members Coker, Limestone and Mars Hill.

The Bulldogs will have 25 intercollegiate sports with the addition of acrobatics and tumbling. Wingate adds a sport for the third time in three years. Women’s triathlon joined the WU lineup in June 2020; the Bulldogs finished second in last November’s national championships. Field hockey came on the scene in August 2021; Wingate will begin competition in September.

“The standard of growing excellence is on full display at Wingate University with today’s announcement,” Kish says. “We are thrilled to join the acrobatics and tumbling family. To celebrate more opportunities for women having a top NCAA DII experience during the 50th anniversary year of Title IX adds a special highlight. We are ready to empower our future Wingate acrobatics and tumbling student-athletes to become champions in the classroom, in our community and in sport!”

Kish and her team will begin a national search for Wingate’s inaugural acrobatics and tumbling coach immediately. The Bulldogs will begin competition in early 2024. A typical acrobatics and tumbling schedule includes eight to 10 dual or tri-meets, culminating with the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA) national championships in late April/early May.

Janell Cook, NCATA Executive Director:
“The NCATA is thrilled to welcome Wingate University into the acrobatics and tumbling community. The announcement of Wingate adds to a strong DII program presence in the Carolinas and growth within the South Atlantic Conference. Each new program offers unique collegiate opportunities for young women training in gymnastics and cheerleading to pursue their academic and athletic goals. We look forward to working with Kelley Kish and her administration as they hire a coach and begin recruitment.”

“The current period of growth for acrobatics and tumbling has been extremely exciting. With over 40 NCAA institutions sponsoring a program, we are well positioned to reach NCAA championship status. The addition of Wingate University strengthens our association and enhances our primary goal – creating safe, inclusive opportunities for young women to compete at the varsity level.”

About Wingate University
Founded in 1896, Wingate University is a laboratory of difference-making that serves more than 3,400 students in North Carolina. Wingate offers 37 undergraduate majors as well as eight master’s and five doctoral degrees. The University is home to the Cannon College of Arts and Sciences; the Levine College of Health Sciences; the Byrum School of Business; and the College of Professional Studies, which includes the Thayer School of Education and the School of Sport Sciences.

Wingate is a leader in healthcare education, and nearly one in five Wingate undergraduate students is preparing to be a pharmacist, physician assistant, physical therapist, occupational therapist or nurse. Student-athletes on Wingate’s 25 teams compete in NCAA Division II and have brought home the SAC Echols Athletic Excellence Award for 14 years straight. The University’s motto is “Faith, Knowledge, Service.” View current news and videos at