All-female sport combines gymnastics, cheerleading moves
An Acrobatics and Tumbling program — the newest collegiate sport added to WVSU athletics — will start competing in spring 2023.
An all-female sport combining competitive cheerleading and gymnastics all in one, acrobatics and tumbling was officially recognized as a sport in 2009 and by the NCAA in 2019, the first NCAA-sanctioned sport since football.
Division II schools are where the sport is especially taking off, and the Mt. East Conference has nine teams so far including WVSU.
The sport is especially taking off at Division II Athletics schools, and the Mountain East Conference has nine teams including WVSU. Fifty schools throughout the U.S. now offer Acrobatics and Tumbling, with WVSU the 39th school to add the program. To compete, 40 of those 50 schools will have to fill rosters of 18 or more girls and young women.
Head coach Kaitlyn Miller was part of the Acrobatics and Tumbling Team at Gannon University, where she graduated in 2020. She moved on to Coker University, where she served as graduate assistant coach for Acrobatics and Tumbling. Kaitlyn is clearly driven to build this upcoming program from the ground up. Currently the sole coach, she is looking for a graduate assistant coach to help with her duties of recruiting, fundraising, choreographing and running practices.
There are six young women on the team, but Miller plans to have a full roster of 18 to 24 by next year.
“The creation of Acrobatics and Tumbling as a collegiate sport creates opportunities for young women to be recognized for their athletic abilities and allows them to continue competing on a college level,” she said, emphasizing her ongoing love of coaching. “My senior season at Gannon University was cut short due to COVID 19. I was not ready to give up Acrobatics and Tumbling, so I decided to start coaching with the intention of bringing this experience to other athletes who share the common interests that I do.”
Meets will last around 90 minutes and consist of 21 heats. The meets are usually head-to-head, but they also can be tri-meets with three teams competing. These heats are divided into four different categories: Compulsory, Acrobatics, Toss and Tumbling.
There also will be a team routine at the end of each meet, which Miller describes as “basically two-and-a-half minutes of organized chaos consisting of acrobatics, tumbling and some dance.”
Home meets will be held in the Walker Convocation Center connected to Fleming Hall.