Union College is excited to host Acrofest 2022! Acrosport gymnastics teams from Seventh-day Adventist high schools and colleges from across North America gather at Union November 10-12 for skills clinics, fellowship, worship and a grand finale show featuring performances by the participating teams.
This year's theme is "Look up — SMILE!" taken from Luke 21:28 where Jesus explains what to expect before His second coming. When you see all the signs, Jesus encouraged, "lift up your heads, for your redemption is drawing near."
The world is troubled and life seems full of endless challenges, but Jesus is always our strength and hope — on the gym floor and in life.
- Thursday Rotations
- Friday Rotations
We have some great clinicians lined up to help attendees improve their skills. Meet some of them below:
Michelle Velbis — Sports acrobatics
As a youngster, Michelle tore up her parents' house by jumping, swinging and even breaking their bed (TWICE). So, her parents put her in gymnastics to funnel her energy and it was a great fit! Michelle was a USAG artistic gymnast where she achieved level 10, winning state and regional titles along the way. At 18, Coach Rick Schwarz introduced her to acrobatic gymnastics and Michelle went on to win seven national titles. She now runs her own training facility to share her knowledge and passion with young people who have gone on to professional careers in cheerleading, dance, circus, and coaching.
Jesse Leone — Group pyramids
Jesse started his acrobatic journey at Blue Mountain Academy followed by Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University). While in college, Jesse checked out a local cheerleading gym and became determined to make cheerleading his full time career. After a lot of determination, mistakes, and successes he and his wife now own three large cheerleading gyms in Maryland and have recently finished building a 40-acre cheerleading resort on the coast of Virginia. Jesse says that the main thing that has shaped him into the coach he is today is his ability to learn from others and to continuously grow as a coach. He values his time working and learning under Steve Wilson, Ben Johnson and Rick Schwarz and feels their mentorship will continue to influence his coaching for generations to come.
Caleb Ross — Group stunting
Caleb’s coaching career started as a junior coach at Famous Superstars while in high school and decided to pursue coaching as a career. He continued his cheerleading at University of North Carolina and upon graduation accepted a full time coaching position at Cheer Extreme Allstars. Caleb like to use all of his athletic strength and weaknesses to contribute to the team to make him a successful coach. He loves that moment when an athlete beams with pride when they accomplish something they have been working towards.
Flips Ohulahan — Pair stunting
Flips Ohulahan was a gymnast and power tumbler as a young child. He participated In Sports Acro, all-star cheerleading, high school cheer and the cheer teams at University of Tennessee and Middle Tennessee State University. He has been coaching for 22 years and loves helping people laugh and lift each other up.
Daniel Ikpeama — Tumbling
Daniel Ikpeama is excited to be a clinician for this year's Acrofest. He has been involved with acro and cheer for 13 years as a tumbler, stunter, clinician and coach. Most recently, he spent five years at Cheer Xpress in Lincoln as a tumbling and stunting coach. Currently, Daniel spends much of his time working to earn his doctorate in music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Kaelibeth Rose — Inverted Pyramids
Kaelibeth Rose is a movement enthusiast who loves encouraging confidence, creativity, and joy through acrobatic and aerial arts. She is a multiple-time national champion in acrobatic gymnastics and received a college scholarship for acrobatics. She performed and coached internationally with her university’s acrobatic team, in disciplines including acrobatic gymnastics, hand balancing, aerial silks, duo static trapeze, tumbling, stunting, and tossing. She was the Creativity and Fitness captain of the team, leading the conditioning and flexibility training of over fifty athletes, as well as creating and directing expansive multi-discipline shows. Kaelibeth went on to work as an aerialist and coach in NYC, where she successfully auditioned for Cirque Du Soleil’s roster as a physical actor. She’s led workshops for events attended by thousands of athletes on performance and audience engagement, hand balancing, and aerial silks, and has professionally choreographed competitive and performance routines for acrobatic gymnasts, dancers, and aerialists. She has been coaching tumbling, acrobatics, handstands, conditioning, flexibility, and aerial arts for over 12 years and will continue to learn and grow as a coach and artist in the years to come.
Erik Thomson (Tumble Chef) — Tossing
Eric Thompson, aka Tumble Chef, has been coaching tumbling for almost two decades. Eric is USASF certified coach and has worked with national and world champion gymnasts, cheerleaders, and power tumblers. Though Eric loves to teach tumbling we have found he is excellent at coaching tossing! Eric has worked and been a hit at many Acrofests! "I started coaching in 2005," Eric said. "I always knew that I could not just be a coach I had to be the best coach. With both hunger and curiosity I started researching how the body works and creating drills for specific skills. In 2017 I opened my own business, becoming the Tumblechef. I have worked very hard to create a brand that people recognize and can trust. I am so honored to coach athletes of all different levels all over the world."
- Andrews University (Michigan)
- Antillean Adventist University (Puerto Rico)
- Bass Memorial Academy (Mississippi)
- Chisholm Trail Academy (Texas)
- Collegedale Academy (Tennessee)
- Fletcher Academy (North Carolina)
- Georgia-Cumberland Academy (Georgia)
- Highland Academy (Tennessee)
- Highland View Academy (Maryland)
- Indiana Academy (Indiana)
- Madison Academy (Tennessee)
- Midland Adventist Academy (Kansas)
- Ozark Adventist Academy (Arkansas)
- Peterson's Gym (Texas)
- Southern Adventist University (Tennessee)
- Southwestern Adventist University (Texas)
- Spencerville Academy (Maryland)
- Sunnydale Adventist Academy (Missouri)
- Thunderbird Academy (Arizona)
- Tulsa Adventist Academy (Oklahoma)
- Union College (Nebraska)
- Upper Columbia Academy (Washington)
- Washington Adventist University (Maryland)