Acrobatics and Tumbling hopes to have a stellar season, even with major changes

Acrobatics and Tumbling hopes to have a stellar season, even with major changes
Last winter, the acrobatics and tumbling team at West LIberty was on a roll. They were number two in the Mountain East Conference and scored their first ever perfect 10 in a meet, but then COVID-19 hit, and their season ended unexpectedly early. Head coach Kelsey Kyle said, “We all piled into my office and I was trying to keep a straight face, but as soon as it was my turn to talk, I started crying, and they all knew that it was over.” Kyle says that all 25 athletes did a great job not dwelling on what could’ve been and looking forward to the future.
The athletes worked hard during the summer, and with public gyms not being open, they had to get creative with their workouts. Some of the athletes were working on tumbling in their backyards and doing acro at home with their younger siblings in order to stay in shape.
This season, the team recruited several new athletes and has a full roster for the first time in WLU team history, but working out as a full team hasn’t been easy with CDC guidelines in place. At the beginning of the semester, the team was only able to practice in small groups of ten and all of the athletes were required to wear masks at all times, which made practicing tumbling much more difficult.
The entire team has been training together for three weeks. “We’ve been super fortunate that we haven’t had to stop practicing because of the pandemic. Our team has been taking the necessary precautions to stay safe, and I can’t praise the athletes enough for all of their hard work,” said Kyle. Senior Lexus Ficca said, “If one of us tests positive, then we will have to stop for a while. Basically, last year us and every other school had to stop, it wasn’t in our hands to continue to practice. But this year, it is in our hands on whether we practice or not. With that being said, being safe and following the rules keeps me going because the more we are safe the more we can practice and get stronger!”
The schedule has not been created for the upcoming season, but Kyle is optimistic that the season will continue on. According to Kyle and Ficca, the team seems to be stronger than last season, even with the changes. Kyle said, “All five of our seniors have stepped into a leadership role and a few other athletes have really caught our attention within the last few weeks.” Sophomore Mareena Scalia and junior transfer Paige McGlothlin have shown major improvements and have added new skills to improve the team’s overall performance.
“Honestly, I feel like the season is going very well! These freshmen are really not backing out from anything and they are doing great just from these past few practices. I can honestly speak for every returner when I say, we are at a better place than where we were last year. We improve every day, learn new skills and keep the coaches happy,” said Ficca.
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