Gannon’s acrobatics and tumbling team begins season 3-0

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The Gannon University acrobatics and tumbling team began its season 3-0 under the new leadership of head coach Jacquie Eshleman, assistant coach Alia Nolan and junior student assistant Andrea Cygan, who competed on the team for two seasons.

The Knights are tabbed No. 6 in the National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA) preseason coaches’ poll.

For the third year in a row, the team began the year with a win after defeating Concordia University 273.195–230.530 on Feb. 3, ending the meet with a total deduction of 14.83 points while winning all 19 heats, posting scores over nine in 13 of the heats.

The Knights then had a break in competition until Feb. 25 when they traveled to Bristol, Tenn., to take on King University in both teams’ opening Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) competition.

They set the pace to victory after starting the meet with victories in the pyramid, toss and tumbling heats.

The team also had a season-high score in the toss and team events, scoring 9.75 out of a possible 10 with a team of seniors Chelsea Cowan, Michaela Soper and Elizabeth Martin, sophomores Ashley Barrish, Nikki Pizzi, Jocelyn Scott and Meghan Hughes, juniors Mikayla Vecchio, Kelsey McGarvey and Lisa Wagaman, and freshman Kristen Godshall in the toss event.

The Knights lost the first and last heat in the tumbling event, but won the middle four heats to secure the victory in that event. Sophomore Gina Pergolizzi, Schuler and Hughes won the triple pass and Cowan, Wagaman, Soper and Pizzi followed the triple pass with a win in the quad pass.

They also scored a 97.75 out of a possible 104.19 in the team event, which is the fourth highest team score in program history to King’s 85.08 of 101.77. Gannon also swept the pyramid events which included inversion, synchronized and open, respectively.

The Knights scored 9.70 in the first, 9.40 in the second and 9.80 in the third. The Tornadoes scored 9.05 in the first, 8.35 in the second and 9.70 in the third.

Sophomore Brenna Schuler and Hughes scored best in the six-element and aerial passes. Both Knights remain undefeated in their solo events.

The Knights then had two days to travel to South Carolina to take on Converse College in an evening matchup.

Despite a chaotic travel schedule, Gannon recorded its third win of the year defeating Converse by five points, 269.425–264.170, in its first-ever match up with the Valkyries.

The Knights’ 3-0 start matches the team’s longest win streak in five seasons of existence.

The Knights will take a break until March 11 before heading to Eugene, Ore., for a tri-meet with the University of Oregon and Quinnipiac University.

Oregon finished last season 8-2 and currently has a record of 2-1 to Gannon’s 3-0. Quinnipiac went 6-3 last year and is 1-1 this season.

 

BRANDON JACES

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