WACO, Texas - Baylor acrobatics and tumbling will host the 2012 National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA) National Championships at the Ferrell Center Thursday through Saturday. The Bears (2-4) welcome Azusa Pacific (3-4), Fairmont State (3-6), Maryland (8-1), Oregon (9-0) and Quinnipiac (0-10).
"I hope we can just hit everything and have as close to a perfect meet as we can," first-year head coach LaPrise Harris-Williams said. "We want to end our season hitting everything to the best of our ability."
With the Bears hoping to finish with a perfect meet, practices have been run differently than the regular season. Instead of emphasizing the repetition of skills, Harris-Williams focused on the team's ability to be sharp and clean.
"We decided we're going to stay as clean as possible," Harris-Williams said. "We simplified some of our skills and enhanced others. We basically just want to go in there and present the cleanest routines and skills that we can so we can get our scores maximized."
Baylor defeated Fairmont State and Quinnipiac on March 11, but the Bears lost two meets to Oregon and once to Maryland and Azusa Pacific. Although the season has been challenging, the Bears have not lost their drive to succeed.
"The energy of the team is outstanding," Harris-Williams said. "The girls are so excited and they are ready for the championships."
The National Championship is a six-team bracket, single-elimination tournament. The first round begins Thursday, when the bottom four seeds face each other. First-round winners will then compete against the top two seeds in Friday's second round. Second-round winners will compete Saturday in the Championship finals. A free live video stream is available for every meet through www.BaylorBears.com.
Team seeds are determined by averaging every team's top two home and top two away scores. Maryland received the No. 1 seed, while the No. 2 seed was claimed by Oregon. Both teams were given a first-round bye.
Quinnipiac secured the No. 4 seed and takes on No. 5 seed Azusa Pacific Thursday at 4:30 p.m. CT in the quarterfinals. Fairmont State received the No. 3 seed and will face No. 6 seed Baylor in the quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
If Baylor defeats Fairmont State in the first round, it will advance to face No. 2 Oregon in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Friday. If the Bears win the first two rounds, they would take on Quinnipiac, Azusa Pacific or Maryland in Saturday's final at 4:30 p.m. Individual event National Championships will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Baylor placed third at the 2011 NCATA National Championship. The Bears won their first-ever national championship title when Katie Collier, Madeline French and Nicole Allison won the five-element stunt event.
All NCATA events are sanctioned through USA Gymnastics.