WLU Acro and Tumbling season comes to a close in MEC semi-finals

West Liberty’s Acrobatics and Tumbling were handed an unfortunate season-ending loss by nationally-ranked Fairmont State in the Mountain East Conference Championships semi-finals on Friday. With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the teams’ schedule since 2020, this was just the third full season in program history for the Hilltoppers, who have laid strong foundations to build on in the coming years.

The Falcons, who were the tournament hosts, went on to win the conference Championship against Frostburg State, which secured their place in the NCATA National Championships at the end of this month. The top eight teams and the final rankings qualify for the national tournament in Oregon and having been ranked at number seven before winning their third consecutive MEC title, Fairmont is sure to be one of the front runners for selection.

Head Coach Kelsey Kyle’s Hilltoppers have been plagued with injuries to key members of the squad at important moments of the season, which left them with an even 4-4 record heading into the postseason. WLU was determined to not use injuries as an excuse and they refused to go down without a fight, improving their score by over 10 points from their last loss against the Falcons two weeks prior. The final score was 249.620-254.530, with the Toppers taking a convincing 89.17-84.38 victory in the team event, Mareena Scalia set a school record with a 9.600 score in the aerial pass heat.

Although this loss meant that the team’s collective season was over, there were still a number of individual titles to compete for as the MEC Individual Event Finals were held in conjunction with the conference team championships on Saturday. The Hilltoppers qualified for 12 out of 15 competitions, winning three events while finishing a tiebreaker away from a fourth individual championship.

The Toppers hit the ground running, winning the first event of the day as Scalia, Chloe Palmer, Katie Emborsky, and Paige McGlothlin were crowned champions of the 5-Element Acro heat, before Scalia took to the mat again to retain her aerial-tumbling title, scoring a 9.375 in the event. In the next event, Senior Theresa Evangelista finished her collegiate career in style, winning the 6-Element tumbling pass event to secure WLU’s third individual title, which was the joint second-highest total on the day.

Four members of the squad were honored with All-MEC team selections, being rewarded for their remarkable performances this season. Graduate student Kenzie Kyle was placed on the All-MEC first team for the second year in a row and was joined by junior top Scalia, while senior base Paige McGlothin received All-MEC second team honors.

Freshman base Abbey Horvath was also named MEC Freshman of the Year, becoming the first Hilltopper to receive this award. She was also the sole freshman to receive first-team honors, joining teammates Kyle and Scalia to give WLU three first-team recipients for the second year running. Horvath was a stand-out performer for the Toppers all season, competing in up to 10 heats and the team event in her first collegiate season.

For more information and to keep up to date with information on the squads 2023 season schedule, head to hilltoppersports.com.