Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Women’s acrobatics and tumbling will begin its inaugural season in 2025

Calvin University announced the women’s acrobatics and tumbling team on Oct. 28, 2022 and Calvin has since hired Ellen Barker as head coach. Acrobatics and tumbling is considered an emerging sport in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 

Barker, who has spent the previous seven years as the head coach of acrobatic and tumbling at Adrian University, is excited for the opportunity to build a new program. “There’s always challenges, but overall, I think the tone is enthusiasm,” Barker said.

The Calvin Knights currently have seven student-athletes on the team with eight more students already committed to joining the team next season. In order to field a proper team for competition, a team must have 15 players, according to Barker. With eight recruits already and six returning athletes for next season, Barker and her team are one recruit away from building a team with at least 15 athletes. Barker is looking to build her team to at least 18 members in the 2025 season. The seven current members on the team were already Calvin students before joining the acrobatics and tumbling team. The athletes come from a wide background of previous sports prior to acrobatics and tumbling –– ranging from dance, gymnastics and cheer –– causing the transition process to go well.

“It was really fun. It’s nice because it’s a new sport no one has ever done before, so we’re all learning together,” senior Parker Nanzer said.

Many of the athletes were recruited via word of mouth or social media. “I saw an Instagram post about it, and my friend Celia went to an info meeting on it, and she convinced me to do it with her,” Nanzer said.

Barker made it clear early on with her athletes that there was a high chance of not competing this season. “We always preferred having that great foundation over a quickly thrown-together team. But if we had 15 and if I felt it was safe, we would have totally considered it,” Barker said.

The athletes who joined were okay if they did not end up competing this season. “She [Barker] had said this first year we’ll just be building the team up and then the year after we’ll compete,” Nanzer told Chimes.

The team’s practices have mainly been focused on strength training and weight lifting, according to Barker.

The small team has allowed for a lot of team bonding. “It’s nice because you just become like a really close family,” Nanzer said.

Nanzer is sad to graduate before competing with the team but she is excited for the team’s future success. “It’s a little sad. I wish I could but I’m also just really grateful to be a part of something new and meet the girls who are competing,” Nanzer said.

Acrobatics and tumbling’s official season begins on Feb 3. Barker and her team plan on watching other teams compete in order to prepare for their inaugural season in 2025. “We’re going to watch a lot of meets together. They’ll be able to see in action what they’ve been doing for two semesters,” Barker said.

Barker hopes that Calvin students support the team as its reach expands, whether on social media or in person. “We really encourage people to follow us in our journey and kind of see how a sport is growing,” Barker told Chimes.

The team plans to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Feb. 7 by announcing multiple recruits.

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