UMHB has chosen its new coach for its new sport: Acrobatics and Tumbling. Head coach Courtney Pate will help build this new program, which will begin in the spring semester of 2020. Pate graduated from Belton High School and Baylor University, where she helped win two team national championships and three individual national championships in the sport.
On Thursday, Jan. 3, Vice President for Athletics Randy Mann announced the addition of the sport.
“We are very excited to add the sport of Acrobatics and Tumbling to our sport offerings,” he stated in a release on the UMHB website. “We have been studying this opportunity for a couple of years now, and the time is right for us to launch the Acrobatics and Tumbling program at UMHB. We are proud of our success as a department and look forward to having another competitive program. We are anxious to get a head coach in place to begin recruiting talented student-athletes with that goal in mind,” his statement reads.
Because the sport is not recognized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the new team will compete as part of the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA). According to their website, “the mission of the NCATA is to bring the sport of Acrobatics and Tumbling through NCAA emerging sport status to become a fully sanctioned NCAA championship sport.”
Currently, 26 universities compete as members of the NCATA. Other Texas colleges that participate in the organization are Baylor University, which has earned the NCATA national title for the past four years, and East Texas Baptist University.
In an official news release on the NCATA website, NCATA President Dr. Renee Baumgartner said, “We are proud to share the news that the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor has added Acrobatics & Tumbling to their varsity sport offerings… UMHB is an excellent NCAA Division III institution that builds upon recent NCATA expansion in Texas. We are excited by their decision and commitment to new opportunities.”
Freshman education major Alena Bellon is excited that there will be a new team that allows students
to practice their tumbling skills without being a member of the cheerleading team.
“I am excited for the team because the only way in the past to actually tumble was through the cheer team,” Bellon said. “This is a great opportunity for me to work on my skills without the cheer setting.”
Senior psychology and criminal justice double major Kelly Taylor thinks that the new team will be a great addition to the school.
“I would definitely participate if I had any coordination whatsoever and wasn’t graduating!” Taylor, who is excited to see the new team succeed, said.
Students who are interested in joining the team can stay updated by checking out the Cru Athletics website or the NCATA Facebook page.