College Spotlight: Acrobatics & Tumbling a Sport on the Rise

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"It's a fun sport," Fairmont State Acrobatics and Tumbling Head Coach Kristi Kiefer said. "It's enjoyable getting spectators out to see it. I've had so many come up that have watched it for the first time and said, 'Wow, we didn't know this is what you all were doing."

"I've had people come up to me after meets and say, 'That was so awesome to watch. That was so refreshing and so different.' So I think it just catches the eye of a lot of people and keeps them interested because it is so different. It's not just cheerleading or gymnastics. It's both," Falcons senior Allison Clayton said.

Acrobatics and Tumbling may be defined by words such as 'new', 'different', or 'unique'. But after you watch it for yourself, you'll come away with 'wow'.

"Acrobatics and Tumbling is a lot different than your normal cheerleading or gymnastics competition," Fairmont State senior Nathalie Barnes said. "Acrobatics and Tumbling includes pyramids, tosses, along with tumbling and the normal routine that you see in cheerleading."

A&T is so new that there's only 11 schools in the United States that offer it. Fairmont State and now Alderson Broaddus are two of those programs. They join the likes of big-time Division-I schools such as Baylor and Oregon, among others. Fairmont State Head Coach Kristi Kiefer says it won't be long until the sport is sanctioned by the NCAA.

"We've submitted a proposal and within the next few years, you're going to see us move into the emerging sports status with the NCAA," Kiefer said. "Hopefully if all goes well, we're going to be a sport, recognized by the NCAA. We're a sport right now recognized by our institutions."

Within the next five to ten years, Fairmont student-athletes believe the sport can be elevated to an entirely new level.

"Hopefully in the next ten years we'll be on ESPN some day. But I imagine more and more schools will have the sport and more scholarships and everything like that," Barnes added.

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