WACO, Texas- Despite being the No. 2 seed in this year's National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association Championship, the University of Oregon acrobatics and tumbling team (11-0) showed why they were defending champions as they used six, strong tumbling heats to pick up their second NCATA National Championship in as many tries, upending No. 1 seed Maryland (9-2), 281.935-277.885, Saturday night at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.
The Ducks record the first perfect season in NCATA history, moving to 11-0 as Maryland finishes the season at 9-2 with Oregon handing the Terps their two losses this season.
Oregon's domination in the compulsory round continued as they tallied a 38.70 behind strong scores in the pyramid and toss portion. The Terps weren't far behind with a 38.55.
UO turned it on in the next two events to take a 96.75-96.10 advantage into the half.
With a lead in tow, the Ducks stumbled in the toss event though. In heat one, Oregon lost 9.70-9.45. The Terps took the upper hand in the synchronized toss and the open toss to put the Ducks behind, 125.10-124.75 heading into the tumbling portion.
Last year tumbling was not a strong area for Oregon, but the Ducks revamped themselves heading into this season and have leaned on it.
In the duo pass, freshman Sarah Moreno and sophomore Natasha Katzaroff dominated, winning the event, 9.75-9.05. The Ducks also took care of the Terps in the trio pass, but had a setback in the quad pass.
The solo passes were where Oregon got most of their momentum going into the team routine. Senior Kelsey Rowell won the aerial pass, 9.95-9.78. Freshman Nicole Erlichman went down five-tenths of a point in the six-element pass, but Katzaroff powered through the open pass, defeating her opponent, 9.98-9.95 allowing the Ducks to get the lead back, 182.825-182.475.
With energy and momentum in their hands, all UO had to do was finish strong in the team routine to wrap up their second title and they did just that. Oregon scored a 99.11 with very few errors, but Maryland did not have the best showing as they had various drops and bobbles and only scored a 95.41.
In addition to their team title, the Ducks won event titles in heat three of the pyramid, duo, trio quad, aerial and six-element.
Aerial: Kelsey Rowell
Six-Element: Nicole Erlichman