Acro and Tumbling takes season opener versus West Virginia Wesleyan


Hilltopper Sports

Acro. and Tumbling vs. Wesleyan.

The West Liberty University acrobatics and tumbling team took on the West Virginia Wesleyan College Bobcats in their home opener last Thursday. The no.11 ranked Hilltoppers did enough to stave off a hungry Wesleyan side to pull off a 235.45-234.05 victory.

The competition was close all evening with the lead passing back and forth between the two teams. The Hilltoppers came out strong winning the Compulsory event by 3.05 points to gain an early advantage. A score of 27.60 in the acrobatics event to the Bobcat’s 25.75 added to West Liberty’s lead heading into the third event.

West Liberty entered into the pyramid event with a lead of 4.90 but a major fault in the synchronized pyramid put WLU’s score at 5.80 out of a potential 10.00, closing the score gap significantly. The fault left the Toppers clinging to the lead by just over a point when heading into half time.

The second half opened up with a tightly contested Toss event with Wesleyan scraping a victory by just 1.20 points which tipped them barely into an overall lead by a tiny margin of 110.25-110.20. The Tumbling event saw the Hilltoppers resume their winning position as the WLU performers put in a vitally strong performance edging out the Bobcats 47.400-46.950.

The Tumbling success allowed the Toppers to enter the final team event on top by an excruciatingly tight margin. The Bobcats took to the floor first with the minimum number of girls participating. The Wesleyan squad put on a solid performance with only a few errors putting the WLU team in a challenging position.
West Liberty entered the team event with a start value of 101.76. The ladies put on an exciting, high-energy performance with several successful stunts and tumbles. A mistake around the halfway point of the routine did not face the team as they continued to push until the music stopped.

The strong performance from both teams kept the audience at the edge of their seats, but the announcement of an event win for the Hilltoppers of 77.85-76.85 bringing the overall total to 235.45-234.05 was worth the stress. An overall solid performance allowed Head Coach Kelsey Kyle’s Hilltopper’s to open their season with a win.

“We made a lot of mistakes tonight but in the end we were able to come away with the win and that’s what matters,” Kyle said to Hilltopper Sports. “All the mistakes I saw were correctable and we had several girls make really strong impressions.”

For many members of the team, last Thursday was their first time competing at the collegiate level in front of a large crowd. Last year’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols restricted the number of spectators allowed at meets. “We do have several veterans back who have been with us for a while,” Kyle said, “but with a large freshman class and several sophomores filling expanded roles, half my team probably hasn’t ever competed before a crowd like this before tonight. I expected some first-match jitters – maybe not to this extent – but in the end our tumblers came through for us.”

Though the victory was a definite team effort, several WLU athletes put in great individual performances which helped bolster the score. “Abbey Horvath was awesome. She’s just a freshman but she’s in almost every event and performed really well in her first collegiate match. Mareena Scalia is a returning MEC champion and her tumbling was beautiful tonight. Avery Ray is another freshman who did really well tonight,” said Kyle to Hilltopper Sports.

Next up for the acrobatics and tumbling team is an away trip on Feb. 24 to the Alderson Broaddus University Battlers in Philippi, W.Va. where they will take on both the Battlers and the Davis and Elkins College Senators. For a full schedule and more information on the WLU team, check out Hilltopper Sports at