ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Vanguard University (7-2) wins the inaugural STUNT National Championship – NAIA Division title by a 12-9 score over Oklahoma City University (6-5). Against NAIA competition this season, the Blue and Gold was 5-0 winning by an average margin of over 12 points. Despite all of the challenges of the past 12-months, the team embodied the mantra of "Unshakable" and ended the season as the best in the nation.
What Happened? After going 2-0 during seeding games the day prior, Vanguard entered as the top seed in the Championship Match. In the first quarter, they picked up right where they left off, scoring the first three points of the period. Entering the second, OCU had closed it to a 3-1 difference. The first two routines of Pyramids and Tosses saw points awarded to both sides of the mat, leaving the Pride holding a 6-4 margin going into halftime. Exiting the 10-minute intermission, the Stars closed it to a tied 6-6 score as they had been awarded six the previous nine points. The Blue and Gold stopped the run and ended the third quarter leading 8-7. With the stress at peak levels inside the Carl and Deloris Petty Sports and Recreation Complex, the final quarter of the season began. In the team routines, the Lions earned two of the three points in round one, leading 10-8. Vanguard was in control with a 12-9 advantage entering the final routine and called Routine 7 which OCU elected not to perform. Although the Pride was not awarded any points, they held on for the three point victory.
Why It's Important? The Lions end the regular season on a five-game winning streak, outscoring their opponents 84-21 including 47-13 in the National Championships. Vanguard holds an all-time record of 26-23 and is now 3-2 in post season contests. They previously attended the National Tournament in 2019. Today's contest was the closet match since their 13-10 come from behind victory over Concordia University – Irvine on March 27th at the William Jessup tournament.
How It's Scored: A STUNT match has four quarters. The first three periods all feature four routines with the final fourth quarter containing only three routines. Quarter 1 is partner stunts, Quarter 2 is pyramids, Quarter 3 jumps and tumbling, and Quarter 4 is team routine where the previous three quarters are combined. Routines in the first three frames are worth one point each whereas, in the fourth quarter, teams can earn up to three total points. There are eight levels of routines a team can perform ranging from beginner (1) to advanced (8), with each step becoming slightly more challenging.
What They Said: Dakota Pittenger - "It feels really good to end the season as National Champions! we have overcome so much as a team and I am so thankful for every single girl on our team and all of the people who made it possible for us to have had this opportunity! I'm truly thankful." Maggie Brown - "There's one thing I'm taking away from this season and that is perseverance. Through all of the ups and downs this year has brought us Stunt has kept me going so ending this season with a win is a remarkable feeling."
What's Next: Sunday, April 25th, the Lions will return back to Costa Mesa with the first awarded NAIA Division National Championship in STUNT history in tow
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