Acrobatics and Tumbling Prepares to Jump Into Bobcat Athletics Scene

Aug 31, 2020 9:00 AM

By Chris Hildreth ’20

A new and exciting sport is coming to FSU. Beginning in the spring 2021 semester, Acrobatics and Tumbling will look to flip FSU Athletics upside down, ushering in one of the fastest-growing sports in the country. FSU students, faculty and community members can look forward to fast-paced, high-energy meets with two or three teams battling in a showing of athleticism in its purest form.

Teams will compete head to head in events such as compulsory, acro, pyramid, toss, tumbling and team event. Teams will be judged by a panel of expert officials and receive scores based on the difficulty and execution of the skills they attempt.

The University's decision to sponsor Acrobatics and Tumbling did not come about overnight. According to FSU’s athletic director Troy Dell, bringing Acrobatics and Tumbling to the University has been in development for a decade.

“The athletic administration has been monitoring the growth of this sport since it started 10 years ago. Making the decision to add it was a matter of feeling confident that it was going to reach NCAA emerging sport status,” Dell said.

After more than a decade of existing under the radar, Acrobatics and Tumbling was approved as an emerging sport for women by NCAA members in Divisions II and III in January 2020.

Acrobatics and Tumbling’s road to emerging sport status began in 2010 with six participating schools. The inaugural season garnered enough attention that the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA) was formed the following summer, and momentum for the sport continued to build. Now, 33 institutions sponsor Acrobatics and Tumbling and that number continues to grow.

Dell also discussed how the sport can continue to help FSU grow as an institution.

“I think it creates a new opportunity for females on our campus," Dell said. "I anticipate that students, faculty, staff and community members will find the energy and athleticism of these young women very entertaining. Many of the gymnasts who are converting will be level 9 and 10 gymnasts, so they are highly accomplished athletes. Our coaches have also worked really hard to recruit young women who come from highly competitive cheerleading backgrounds as well.”

The woman responsible for bringing these talented athletes to FSU is head coach Katie Nunley. After participating in Acrobatics and Tumbling for three years at Alderson Broaddus University, she became the assistant coach at Adrian College in Michigan.

“I immediately fell in love with coaching the sport,” Nunley said. “When FSU added the sport, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue because it was so close to home, and with this sport being so new and spread out across the country, I didn’t think I’d have that opportunity.”

Nunley also sees Acrobatics and Tumbling as an opportunity to bring new athletic opportunities to FSU.

“I think it can bring a lot, not only through enrollment and adding more diversity to campus, but it brings an opportunity that wasn’t there before. Acrobatics and Tumbling is offering an opportunity to female athletes that appeals to a wide variety of sport backgrounds so they can continue to be athletes,” she said.

Excitement for the sport is evident at FSU with the team having 25 members already, exceeding the initial goal of 20.

Since Acrobatics and Tumbling is a spring sport, there haven’t been any restrictions or delays due to COVID-19 at the time of this writing. The introduction of this sport-on-the-rise has the potential to add a spark to FSU Athletics and bring high energy. Be on the lookout for updates as Acrobatics and Tumbling springs into action in spring 2021.