(February 11, 2014) Baylor Acrobatics and Tumbling will start off the 2014 National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA) season in Eugene, Oregon, on Thursday, Feb. 13, at 9 p.m. (CT), taking on three-time NCATA champion Oregon.
"What we have decided to do this year is work steadily and slow. We decided to train each skill one day at a time,” head coach LaPrise Harris-Williams said. “Things that worked we kept in, and things that did not work we obviously did not keep. We have perfected a set of skills right now, and we are really excited for people to see what we can do.”
The Bears are returning 22 of 24 letterwinners this season including 2013 Aerial Pass NCATA champion Keegan Johnson and two of the three reigning Trio Pass national champions Hailey Cowan and Courtney Pate.
“Our veterans are doing a great job this year leading our first year starters. I think that the veterans will help keep our team comfortable and keep the anxiety down,” Harris-Williams said. “They have been there before and are not nervous about what they are about to do. This is the first time that we have been this skilled and strong. I think that they are ready to go out and showcase that.”
Harris-Williams also welcomed 13 newcomers and assistant coach Emily Maike to the team this season and is looking forward to seeing what they can make happen out on the floor.
“The freshmen that we have as starters this year are really seasoned athletes in other areas,” Harris-Williams said. “I think they have really tried to understand what we are doing and the competition, events and format. I think they will go out and look really good.”
A&T meets consist of six events: Compulsory, Acro, Pyramid, Toss, Tumbling and Team Routine. Teams compete in a predetermined rotation order throughout each event. Events are immediately scored by officials and overall standings are displayed on a scoreboard.
“Our girls have been really focused in their training this year. I think they are a much different team than they were last year. All that we are planning on doing is going out there and hitting our skills that we have trained so hard and so diligently this whole season. All we hope for is to do our best.”
The Bears will spend their first three meets on the road before they return home to the Ferrell Center to host Oregon on March 29, and Azusa Pacific on April 12. The 2014 NCATA National Championships will be held in Azusa, Calif., on April 24-26.