Photo courtesy of UMHB Athletics
BELTON- The roar from the large contingent of UMHB supporters inside the Mayborn Campus Center said it all.
In just its fourth year as a program, under a first-year head coach, the UMHB acrobatics and tumbling team put on a showcase on Saturday night, ascending to the peak of its sport at the D-III level. With an emotional 268.270-245.25 victory over the No. 2-seeded Trine Thunder, the Crusaders claimed the National Acrobatics and Tumbling D-III Tournament title on their home court.
UMHB gained its first lead after the compulsory event, putting 37.650 points on the board to Trine’s 35.250. And the Cru maintained that advantage throughout the remainder of the contest, outscoring the Thunder in each of the next five events, taking home the national title in the process.
The Crusaders scored 29.400 in the acro event, tallying a new school record in the process, and parlayed that success into a 29.450 score in the pyramid event, besting Trine by a full point. A new program record in the synch pyramid helped UMHB tally its high score, before scoring 27.100 in the toss. The tumbling event then saw the hosts pull away from Trine, with a 53.350 giving UMHB an overall lead of 176.950-160.425.
In the team event, the excitement and emotion of the stage upon which the Cru was on came into full view, as the event showcased the best the squad had to offer, with fast-paced action. The team event culminated with the entire team shouting “Go Cru”, fully knowing what had just played out. They were national champions. They were the nation’s best at the D-III level.
UMHB’s major victory on Saturday night gave the Cru its 10th win of the year, against just one loss. First-year head coach Raffaela Scotto continued the build of the relatively new program, and helped guide her squad to victories over Stevenson and Concordia (Wis.) on Thursday and Friday, respectively, prior to Saturday’s win.
It marked the second win of the year over Trine for the Cru, who had taken down the Thunder in Angola, Indiana, on March 16.
Stay tuned for a postseason feature on the team in the upcoming week.