By Rob Kiser
Ivee Kaye admits it has been a whirlwind for her as well as the team.
And the freshman on the Glenville State Acrobatics and Tumbling team never expected to find herself competing in the national meet this weekend at Baylor University.
“Not at all,” the daughter of Scott Kaye and Marcy Clay said. “I first heard about it last year. Pretty much every girl on the team is doing it for the first team.”
It has been an adjustment for the former state qualifier in gymnastics at Piqua High School.
“I had always done gymnastics,” she said. “You are swinging from bars and now I am jumping and standing on other people’s hands.”
Kaye seized the opportunity a year ago when she signed her letter of intent to compete for Glenville State, who is competing in the program for the first time this year.
“It is a combination of cheerleading and gymnastics,” Kaye said. “But, it scored like gymnastics. Every event is a form of the floor exercise.”
The school made the decision to start the program in 2014 — working towards competition this year.
“Acrobatics and tumbling is an increasingly relevant sport opportunity for female student-athletes,” commented USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny. “As schools look for enhancements to their athletic offerings, this discipline of gymnastics can be a perfect fit for a variety of reasons.”
Glenville State, a is a member of the Mountain East Conference, an NCAA Division II-affiliated conference with 12 member institutions.
Glenville State becomes the 12th member of the NCATA, further bolstering the presence of the sport in the Mountain State as the third member from the state of West Virginia, joining Alderson-Broaddus College in Phillipi, and Fairmont State University in Fairmont.
“Amber King is committed to developing a championship program helping young ladies achieve their very best on the competition floor, in the classroom, and in life,” said Glenville State athletic director Janet Bailey.
“I am excited to introduce Acrobatics and Tumbling to Pioneer sports. This emerging sport will increase athletic opportunities for women at Glenville State. Coach King has an established reputation in the sport. The Glenville State community can expect that Acrobatics and Tumbling will continue the Pioneer tradition of excelling performance in the gymnasium and the classroom,” said Glenville State President Dr. Peter Barr.
The Lady Pioneers have probably already exceeded those expectation, being selected for national competition in both the Acro Five Element event and Pyramid Twist.
In fact, Glenville is the top seed in the Pyramid Twist even, having scored a perfect 10.0 during the season.
Eight schools were selected to compete in each event.
“We had a 10 in the pyramid earlier this season,” Kaye said. “I think we were the only ones. In the acro, we had a score of 9.9. I think everybody had 9.9 and there was one school that had 9.95 so everyone is really close.”
Which will lead to some exciting competition Saturday night.
“There is a lot of pressure, because there isn’t any margin for error,” Kaye said. “I am sure I will be nervous, with it being at a big school like Baylor. The goal is to win two titles.”
Getting to nationals is a plus for the program that is only going to get stronger. Eight teams are competing in the team competition for the national title.
“I just want the whole team to be able to make it next year,” Kaye said. “There are three of us in pyramid and five in acro. It would just be great to have the whole team make it next year.”
And continue the amazing success the program has already had in its first season.