Acrobatics & TumblingSports

Ducks take down Azusa Pacific to improve to 6-1

A convincing win over Azusa Pacific on an emotional senior night was exactly how the Ducks’ acro and tumbling team wanted to rebound from its first loss of the season.

Oregon finished its regular season with a commanding 288.08-277.28 win over Azusa Pacific to cap the regular season with a 6-1 record heading into nationals. The Ducks outscored the Cougars in every event, leading the meet from start to finish.

“I think we made some improvements we wanted to make in terms of putting together a full, complete, good meet,” head coach Chelsea Shaw said.

The Ducks raised their scores in multiple events that may have been due in part to some lineup changes.

“We did make a lot of changes this week, so sometimes that can feel a little chaotic when they’re competing for a first time,” Shaw said. “But I thought they did a really good job.”

Oregon took an early 38.80-37.20 lead after the compulsory event.

The Ducks scored 29.35 points in the subsequent acro event, the highest mark in the event this year.

“That was some of the changes we had been making because we’d been losing the acro event almost every meet,” Shaw said. “That’s one of our stronger points here at Oregon. We just haven’t been scoring so well.”

Oregon took a 97.40-95.15 halftime lead following the 29.40-29.35 advantage in the pyramid event.

Following the intermission, Oregon’s good form continued. A dominant toss event (29.35-28.95) included a perfect 10 in the third heat, which featured Alexis Cross, Sabrina Peyton, Taylor Galvin and seniors Jalen Kirkland, Blaire Wilson and Mari Yacoubian.

“We talked a lot about just coming out with pride today and being able to put that up there for everybody was huge,” Cross said of the perfect 10. “We didn’t score very well on that last week, so to come out and get a 10 today was really exciting.”

The tumbling event has been a strong piece of Oregon’s 2017 repertoire. Reagan Trussell scored a 9.80 in the aerial pass, Taylor Galvin scored a 9.90 in the 6-element singles pass and senior Krista Phillips scored a 9.775 in the open pass to give the Ducks a 57.525-55.15 tumbling event score.

“[I’m] just trying to motivate them, pump them up and know that we’re all behind them,” said Cross, who talks one-on-one to each individual event competitor at the start of the second half. “They’re not in those solo events by themselves, but we’re all there right behind them backing them up.”

Oregon had a 184.33-179.25 lead heading into the meet-concluding team event.

The Ducks’ senior ceremony occurred after the team event, which Oregon won 103.75-98.03.

The win gives the Ducks momentum into the NCATA national championships, which start April 27 in Azusa, California.

“We have a couple weeks of preparation but I think for us — this year especially — we want to keep the focus all on us,” Cross said. “We really want to focus on being the best that we can be every day.”

Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow

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Shawn Medow

Shawn Medow

Shawn is an associate sports editor and reporter for the Emerald covering football, men's basketball, women's basketball, acrobatics and tumbling, track and field/cross-country and softball. He also hosts several podcasts, including a soccer podcast, on the Emerald Podcast Network. You can contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @ShawnMedow.