This article was originally published in ZU News.
The Azusa Pacific acrobatics and tumbling team won their third straight meet and their second of the season against rival Hawaii Pacific. The team had their closest win of the season, with a score of 271.720-267.410.
While the Cougars edged out Hawaii Pacific by about four points, they were actually behind Hawaii Pacific for most of the meet, through all the individual events.
“It was kind of bittersweet to be honest. We didn’t perform like we should have our whole first half, until the team event. Beating them in team event by as much as we did was awesome,” head coach Colleen Kausrud said. “For the whole meet before that, we kind of just felt like we were in a cloud. We came out of the cloud for the team event which was really nice.”
Sophomore back Kara Ingersoll echoed Kausrud’s thoughts.
“Personally, it was hard going through the whole meet knowing we were behind them because Hawaii [Pacific] is our biggest rival. It was disappointing to know how hard we work in practice and not see it pay off in the individual parts,” Ingersoll said. “Coming together before the team event helped us and it will continue to help us as we go back to practice knowing that we need to work harder for the next meet.”
The Cougars scored 97.47 points in the team event with a start value of 107.32, while HPU followed with a score of 90.86 points on a start value of 105.61 points. The seven point swing helped the Cougars in the come-from-behind win.
“We realized that we were behind and there was nothing to lose, so we just needed to leave everything on the mat and do the best we can do. I don’t think any of us expected that we were going to score that high in the team event,” Ingersoll said. “That was a good feeling afterwards. I wish we could have been ahead of them the whole meet, but it happened and we just need to grow from that.”
This was the team’s third straight win. They opened up with a win against Hawaii Pacific at home with a score of 282.075-270.670. APU then beat Concordia (Wisconsin) 263.925-230.620 on Feb. 12.
“To go 3-0 is pretty awesome. We’ve never done that to start a season. I feel like we can keep that going. There’s no reason we can’t and that’s exciting,” Kausrud said.
Senior top Rachel Shier noted how the team has grown throughout the season already.
“We’ve come together and grown pretty well. We’re still kind of learning each other as athletes. It’s cool to see girls cheering each other on,” Shier said. “To go from losing to winning in the meet showed how we can pull together. That was our time to shine and we had to trust each other to pull through.”
The next meet for the acro and tumbling team is on Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. at home against Quinnipiac.
“I feel like we’re pretty evenly matched. It will be good to have a home meet. Our team does really well at home with the home crowd. We’re probably most evenly matched with Quinnipiac,” Kausrud said. “We were ranked third in the coaches poll and they were ranked fourth, so we’ve got a lot to prove.”
Shier and Ingersoll both said they were excited for the home meet. Ingersoll noted she was ready to prove that the team deserved their third-place ranking.
“There’s a lot more excitement at practice because we know we’re seeded third,” Ingersoll said. “It’s such a good feeling knowing we can be ahead of some DI schools and all the DII and DIII schools. There’s a push at practice because we know we deserve to be in this third seed."