No. 11 WLU Acrobatics & Tumbling Still Unbeaten
WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – The unbeaten and No. 11-ranked West Liberty University acrobatics and tumbling team turned in its most impressive performance of the season here Thursday night, sweeping all six events in a 260.360-221.975 victory against Glenville State inside the ASRC.
Not only did Coach Kelsey Kyle's Hilltoppers (4-0, 4-0) break four school records in the runaway win, they did so with the second-highest team score in West Liberty history.
"That's more like it," a smiling Kyle said with a nod at the scoreboard. "That's the level we should be scoring at in every match. We had a great week of practice after our last meet and I'm so proud of my team for bringing that focus and commitment to the mat tonight."
West Liberty took control early with a convincing 37.15-31.85 victory in the Compulsory event and spent the rest of the evening building on that lead. A school-record 8.90 in the tumbling heat fueled the winning event score for the Black and Gold. The Hilltoppers pushed the lead into double-digits with a 28.60-23.60 decision in the Acro event, highlighted by a school-record 9.80 in the 6-Element heat.
"Sydney (Schumacher) and Theresa (Evangelista) were really good in that heat," Kyle said. "They worked really hard on it all week, along with Lindsey (Fries). Sydney and Lindsey are both advanced Nursing students, which means they're not always available to practice with us. They work a lot on their own and it's great to see them rewarded for those efforts."
West Liberty closed out the first half in total control with a 29.00-26.40 win in the Pyramid event, sending the Hilltoppers into intermission with a 94.75-81.85 advantage.
Consistency and execution were the watchwords for WLU in the opening half as the Black and Gold posted scores of 9.25 or better in nine of the 10 hits. The only heat in which West Liberty fell short of 9 points was the school-record 8.90 in the Compulsory tumbling heat.
"From the way our girls walked into the arena today, I could have told you how this was going to play out three hours ago," Kyle said. "They had such an air of confidence in themselves and their teammates, they couldn't wait to get started."
The wins and records kept on coming when second-half action got under way with the Toss event. West Liberty posted a school-record 9.00 score in the opening 450 Salto heat and went on to win the Toss by a 26.60-23.35 tally. The Hilltoppers kept right on rolling with a 50.200-45.075 win in the Tumbling event, setting yet another school record with an 8.350 score in the Trio pass featuring Evangelista, Mareena Scalia and Avery Ray.
"Mareena Scalia was really good for us in the inversion pyramid," Kyle said. "That's the first time we've ever performed that pyramid in a match and we scored a 9.65. Mareena's tumbling pass was really beautiful, as well."
Despite a few minor bobbles, West Liberty closed up shop with a strong performance in the final Team event. The 88.81-71.80 victory in Team pushed the Hilltoppers' total score past the 260 mark for only the second time in school history.
Next up for the Hilltoppers is a non-conference road test against a Top 10 foe. West Liberty heads to Bristol, Tenn. on March 8 for a 6 p.m. match against No. 10-ranked King (Tenn.).
"This will be the first time we've ever competed against King, an established Top 10 program, so we're pretty excited," Kyle said. "They're No. 10 in the country and we're No. 11 so it should be a really good test for us."