Acrobatics and Tumbling is a young sport not only at Concordia Wisconsin but also in colleges across the country. By adding acrobatics and tumbling to an athletic department, a school can provide another athletic opportunity for young women to compete. The sport is a combination of cheerleading and gymnastics, which allows coaches to recruit a variety of competitors.
The sport on the NCAA's emerging list of sports for women has been a part of Concordia Wisconsin's list of programs since the 2015 season, but it was announced as an addition on October 7, 2013. Sole senior, Devon Kirkpatrick from Eugene, Ore., has been with the team since the program started. With many improvements made over just four short years, the program has made great strides. Stunts have become cleaner and the team has grown closer as time has gone by.
Due to acrobatics and tumbling being added to schools across the nation, Concordia Wisconsin has had to travel quite a lot to attend and compete in meets. The long bus rides and tedious flights can be exhausting, but nothing brings a team closer than being stuck together during road trips and hotel stays.
"Over the past few years I've been on this team, I've watched how traveling to our events can bring us closer as a team and improve the trust we have between each other," Kirkpatrick said.
As a member of the original team, Kirkpatrick has experience that not many of her fellow teammates have. She brings her knowledge to the mat through her leadership. Although she isn't the most vocal, staying focused and depending on some of the other upperclassmen helps her show the Falcons how things are done and how goals can be obtained.
Head coach Sarah Koenig has been a part of the program for two years now, first as the graduate assistant and now as the lead mentor. Having prior experience with this team has helped Koenig transition into her role as the head coach.
"Over the past two years I've been here, I have seen the team and the program improve tremendously," Koenig shared. "The team has become more confident in their skills, leading them to execute their routines cleaner."
Since acrobatics and tumbling has been growing in interest, Concordia Wisconsin has been able to recruit talented student-athletes and build their roster so that the program keeps improving. Adding successes to each new year, the program hopes to keep expanding in size and bring in athletes, as the upperclassmen leave behind building blocks for the future.
"My hopes for the program are to keep the interest in the sport by increasing our roster size with talented young athletes. I know it might take a few years for this to happen, but I have faith in the program and my team" Koenig explained.