April 23, 2014
WACO, Texas - Baylor Acrobatics and Tumbling (2-5) will hit the road for the last time this season to compete in the individual and team NCATA National Championships April 24-26 in Azusa, Calif. at the Felix Event Center. The Individual Event finals will begin Thursday, April 24 at 7 p.m. (CT) and the Bears will take the mat against #5 Fairmont State Friday, August 25 at 2:45 p.m. (CT).
"I think this team has pulled together. The key to this meet will be teamwork and consistency. If every athlete does their job and works together as a team, we will be very successful at the national championships," said head coach LaPrise Harris-Williams. "My hope for the team is that they will be consistent from start to finish so that we can actually showcase our best skills for everyone to see. We have not had one meet this year where we have been as flawless as we have wanted to be. There is always going to be mistakes. We want a near-flawless meet from start to finish in the hopes that we can be successful at nationals."
First up for the Bears is the Individual Event finals in which a program-best 18 athletes qualified to compete in eight events. Sophomore Courtney Pate and junior Ally Cheatham each qualified for four events as freshmen Kaelyn Cowan and Kiara Nowlin qualified for three events each.
The Bears had athletes qualify to compete in each of the six Tumbling Events starting with the team of Ayana Taylor and Courtney Pate in the Duo, Keegan Johnson, Brandi Hanford and Kaelyn Cowan in the Trio, Courtney Pate in the Aerial and Kaelyn Cowan in the Open. Baylor had two teams qualify to compete in the Quad including Ayana Taylor, Ally Cheatham, Courtney Pate and Hannah Henke and Kiara Nowlin, Ally Cheatham, Lori Williamson and Kaelyn Cowan. The Bears also had two athletes qualify for the 6 Element: Kiara Nowlin twice and Amanda Graceffa.
In the Toss Duo Event, the teams of Katya Finta, Keegan Johnson, Hailey Cowan, Courtney Pate, Devyn White and Ally Cheatham and Lori Williamson, Bresha Pierce, Deonka Ceaser, Brandi Hanford and Lynn Herbst will compete. The team of Danielle Hardman, Kelci Ortiz, Devyn White, Bresha Pierce and Ally Cheatham qualified to compete in the Acro 6 Element finals.
"I think that this is very exciting. We've got the most athletes that we have ever had qualify for the event finals. Kiara Nowlin and Courtney Pate qualified for the same amount of events for Tumbling. We also have Acro and Toss qualifiers. My hope is that we will come back with a national champion in an individual event. It is looking very good. The training has been on-point all week. All we can do is go head-to-head against the other teams and hope that we have a good result."
Fourth-seeded Baylor will kick off its national championship quest against the fifth-seeded Fairmont State Falcons (7-2). This is the first meeting of the season between the two teams. Fairmont State's two losses of the season came from Baylor-opponents Oregon Ducks and Quinnipiac Bobcats.
"We've reviewed a lot of video of Fairmont State from this year. We know that they are going to be a very clean team, and what that basically means is that they have their legs together on tumbling," Harris-Williams said. "Their Acro sequences are very well put together and clean. They have very minimum mistakes. We know that we are going to have to put our best foot forward. We cannot afford to have any mistakes, but if we do we are going to have to recover really quickly from those mistakes so that we can have our best chance."
Semifinal meets are scheduled for 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, with semifinal winners returning to compete for the NCATA National Championship at 9:30 p.m. Saturday night.
Watch the meet streamed live at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/apu.portal# for $7.95 per meet or $19.95 for a full tournament pass. For live updates, follow @APUCougars on Twitter.
2014 NCATA National Championships Schedule (all times are CT)
Thursday, April 24
3:00 pm: (first round): #8 Alderson-Broaddus vs. #9 King
7:00 pm: Individual Event Finals
Friday, April 25 (Quarterfinals)
2:45 pm: #4 Baylor vs. #5 Fairmont State
5:00 pm: #1 Oregon vs. #8/#9 Winner
7:15 pm: #3 Quinnipiac vs. #6 Hawai`i Pacific
9:30 pm: #2 Azusa Pacific vs. #7 Gannon
Saturday, April 26
12:00 pm: Semifinal 1
2:30 pm: Semifinal 2
9:30 pm: National Championship
ALL SESSIONS (includes first round, individual event finals, quarterfinals, semifinals, and national championship): $30 (adults) / $15 (students) / under age 5 free
SINGLE SESSIONS (five possible): $10 (adults) / $5 (students, seniors, military) / under age 5 free
Felix Event Center
Azusa Pacific University (West campus)
701 E. Foothill Blvd.
Azusa, CA 91702
Ticket Office Phone: (626) 815-5495