The University of Delaware has become the newest school to add gymnastics as a club sport. Like other intercollegiate gymnastics clubs, the University of Delaware team is registered with the National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs (NAIGC) and will be competing against teams from colleges throughout the Northeast and the rest of the country.
The University of Delaware gymnastics team attended its first meet, the Nittany Invitational at Penn State, on March 21st. The women’s team did not place, while the men took third place all around and fifth place for floor exercises.
“At this point, our team’s strengths are on floor and vault,” club president Jenna DiStefano told the college’s online newsletter, UDaily. “We have a hardworking bars lineup who are adding difficulty to their routines in order to boost scores, as well.” The University of Delaware team practices at KMC Gymnastics, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
“It is encouraging to see Delaware and so many other colleges adding gymnastics as a club sport, this allows those athletes who have enjoyed the sport previously to continue on in college,” says Kris Rogers of Spirits Gym. “It also allows those who might not have had the chance before to give it a try. Together these things allow athletes to continue to enjoy their fitness and the camaraderie among teammates and friends.”
The University of Delaware gymnastics club will be competing against 186 teams at nationals between April 8 and April 11. The competition will be held at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Delaware’s preliminary competition will be at 8:40 a.m. on April 10, then the team will go on to perform all day April 11. Parents, friends, and other spectators are welcome to watch the teams compete.
Many college gymnastics clubs become members of NAIGC due to program cuts or loss of status as a varsity team. Because of the organization’s goal of making gymnastics accessible to everyone, most clubs are open to anyone who wishes to join. There are no skill requirements, and gymnasts who are not affiliated with a school are encouraged to join the NAIGC Alumni Club, so that they may still compete. The NAIGC Alumni Club is open to anyone who does not meet the requirements to compete with another team, not just alumni.