The Gannon University acrobatics and tumbling team dropped its first matchup in school history to the Quinnipiac University Bobcats 260.895 to 279.575 in Hamden, Conn., Saturday.
Coach Chelsea Shaw said she was very proud of her team for its execution and composure in its first meet.
“They represented our program with class and integrity,” Shaw said. “Quinnipiac is a strong Division I program that has been around since the beginning of acrobatics and tumbling.
“It was a great learning experience for our team and will only make us stronger heading into the rest of our season together.”
Shaw attended the University of Oregon, where she was an All-American member of its acrobatics and tumbling team. She won back-to-back national championships in 2011 and 2012, and won an individual tumbling championship as a senior.
“I am so honored and thankful to be the first ever Gannon acrobatics and tumbling coach,” Shaw said. “This sport is my love and passion and I can’t think of a better opportunity to give back my positive experience as a collegiate athlete than to share it with others. “
Freshman base Kayla Telego said it was an incredible experience to compete with her teammates for Gannon.
The Knights dropped each of the six events during the meet. The events are compulsory, acro, pyramid, toss, tumble and then team. The Knights came the closest to overtaking Quinnipiac in the pyramid event, merely losing by a fraction of a point.
“The strongest event would have to be our pyramids,” Telego said. “No matter what, we always hit them.”
The Knights are a new team, full of many young athletes. The roster features of 14 members, 12 of whom are freshmen.
“All of our freshmen and team in general have impressed me,” Shaw said. “They have come so far from September when they reported to their first day of practice.
“It has been amazing to see them bond as a team, push each other and grow as individual athletes into a big loving family.”
Gannon’s Heidi Frynkewicz is a base and the lone senior on the squad. Shaw said that the senior joined the team late, but has made a positive impact on the girls.
“Heidi is a new addition to our roster for acrobatics and tumbling,” Shaw said. “She has a gymnastics background and such a motherly spirit about her that is nurturing and encouraging to all our underclassmen athletes.”
Frynkewicz said she uses her experiences as a collegiate athlete for the past three years to help the team understand what to expect during the season.
“I’ve only been on the team since December, but I’ve tried to lead by example, working hard and letting them know I will be there if they need anything,” Frynkewicz said. “Off the mat, I help with studies if they need it, especially in the sciences.”
Gannon returns home to take on Fairmont State University at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Hammermill Center. Shaw said the team has continued to work hard, and will be ready for action this weekend.
“In preparation for our next meet, we have made a few changes that will clean up our events,” Shaw said. “Fairmont has always been a very clean and consistent team so our goal is just to execute everything we do with perfection.”