Editor's note: This story first appeared in the spring 2019 issue of the Concordian, the official magazine of Concordia University Wisconsin.


At Concordia, being a Falcon is about developing as an individual, both in and out of the game, and countless CUW athletes are a testament to that fact. Here are just a few of Concordia’s “uncommon” athletes. Read more about Concordia’s “uncommon” approach to athletics here. 

Jordan Ireland could have competed at a DI school. The Acrobatics and Tumbling coaches at Baylor University pursued her hard her junior year of high school, and she might have gone there if not for her visit to Concordia.

The Colorado native hadn’t even heard of Concordia until her mom, in pursuit of the best opportunity for her daughter, sent out letters to every university she could find with an acro-tumbling team (there are only 26 nationwide). Concordia was the first university to respond.

“Initially, I was totally against Concordia because it was a little further away from home than I wanted,” says Ireland, a senior majoring in criminal justice. “When I came here, though, I just felt really close with the team immediately. I liked how small Concordia was, and because of that I started to form relationships before I even officially started.”

The chance to compete against DI schools while enjoying the close-knit feel of a DIII campus is something few other universities can offer. Last season, Concordia’s acro team made it to nationals, and competed against the likes of Baylor and the University of Oregon. Because acro-tumbling is a relatively new sport and no other collegiate teams exist in Wisconsin, the acro-tumbling competitive schedule also takes CUW’s athletes all over the United States.

Related: Stepping up

The sport combines elements of competitive cheerleading and gymnastics. Judges score athletes on things like the number of joint and solo tumbling passes incorporated into their routines, the difficulty of the team’s builds, and whether or not they “stick” their stunts.

Meets, or competitions, are typically held as a match between two or three teams. Each team can have up to 28 competitors on their game-day roster, and the athletes then compete in multiple events throughout the meet.

“Acro is kind of like cheer if the stunts were on steroids,” Ireland explains with a laugh.

Related: Home court advantage

For Ireland, who has been tumbling since she was 3 and who participated in cheerleading in high school, acro-tumbling has been the perfect fit.

“I considered doing gymnastics in college, but I liked the idea of being part of a sport that was still growing,” Ireland says. “There’s a team aspect to acro that’s really special, too. To be able to compete with a team and have my teammates there constantly supporting me for the past four years has been huge.”

The spring 2019 Concordian hit mailboxes the beginning of May. View a PDF version of the magazine here. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, call 262-243-4333.

— Kali Thiel is director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at kali.thiel@cuw.edu or 262-243-2149.

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