/UM adds wrestling, acrobatics, tumbling, to sports offering
Graphic by Bell Jackson

UM adds wrestling, acrobatics, tumbling, to sports offering

By Kylie Jordan

Over the summer, the University of Montevallo’s athletics program underwent several hiring changes, hiring coaches for new and existing sports programs. Starting in the fall, UM Athletics will add a men’s wrestling team and introduce a women’s acrobatics and tumbling team. Women’s basketball will also welcome Olivia Chapman as the new head coach.  

This fall, Montevallo’s Men’s Wrestling Team will make its debut. This addition is the university’s 22nd intercollegiate athletic sport. 

UM Athletics is bringing on Daniel Ownbey as the first Men’s Wrestling Head Coach. Ownbey has served as the head coach at Wheeling University since 2020. 

“I am extremely excited to be returning to the south and beginning the process of building what will be a successful program,” said Ownbey, “There are amazing things in the future for the University of Montevallo, and I am excited to be a part of their family.” 

Ownbey’s own collegiate success includes four-time All-American and two-time national champion in the 141-pound weight class at UNC Pembroke. When he graduated, he held the title of the program’s third top-winning wrestler with a record of 133-18 (.881). 

With this addition, the University of Montevallo is the second university in the state to offer men’s wrestling as a sport, as well as the first NCAA Division II school in the state to offer men’s wrestling. 

UM Director of Athletics Mark Richard said, “Montevallo will be the only Division II institution sponsoring the sport and providing wrestling scholarships to prospective wrestling student-athletes.” 

The inaugural home meet is set for Nov. 16 in Trustmark Arena against Huntingdon College.  

The newest addition to UM athletics and the university’s 23rd intercollegiate athletic sport is a women’s acrobatics and tumbling team. The University of Montevallo is the only NCAA school in Alabama to raise an acrobatics and tumbling team and the 35th NCAA Division II school for this quickly growing sport. 

“We’re proud to offer the opportunity for talented student-athletes to pursue acrobatics and tumbling at the collegiate level. We look forward to adding to our high-achieving student-athlete population on campus.” Richard said. 

Kati Horstmann has been named the University of Montevallo’s first Acrobatics and Tumbling Head Coach. Horstmann comes from Trine University, where she has been the Head Acrobatics and Tumbling Coach since 2019. 

“I am honored to have the opportunity to build the Acrobatics & Tumbling program at the University of Montevallo,” Horstmann said, “With a supportive, forward-thinking administration that is dedicated to the development of A&T, I believe we will be able to lay the foundation for a championship culture. Thank you to my family, mentors, past coaches, former teammates, and staff who have all played a pivotal role in my success. I am looking forward to beginning my journey at the University of Montevallo and continuing to pave the way for young women to have more opportunities at the collegiate level.” 

As a collegiate athlete, Horstmann was a four-time national champion in four seasons as a Baylor Acrobatics and Tumbling competitor. Felecia Mulkey, Head Acrobatics and Tumbling Coach at Baylor said, “Kati will ensure a positive student-athlete experience while competing at the highest level. I am excited for the future Falcon student-athletes and the Montevallo community as a whole.”  

Horstmann has been active in her role of Acrobatics and Tumbling Head Coach since summer 2023, giving her a full year to recruit before the team’s first season begins in spring 2025. The acrobatics and tumbling athletes will join the campus in fall 2024.  

On July 5, Montevallo named former Assistant Coach Olivia Chapman as Head Coach of Women’s Basketball Team. This promotion makes Chapman the 12th head coach in the program’s history. 

“I am incredibly grateful and humbled to be named the head coach for this historic program to follow my mentor, Gary Van Atta,” Chapman said. “It’s an extremely great opportunity for me to step into. I’m excited to continue to be able to work with our current players and also the incoming freshmen coming in, so I’m just really ready for them to be back on campus so we can get started.” 

Former Head Coach Van Atta announced his retirement in June after 14 seasons with the University of Montevallo. Van Atta called the UM community “family for life.” He concluded his career with a 244-161 record, owning the most wins in the program history with 244 wins and the highest win percentage out of any UM Head Coach with a .602. 

Van Atta added Chapman to his team as an assistant coach prior to the 2022-2023 season. 

“This year, I was able to learn from one of the greatest coaches around,” Chapman said. “The responsibilities that he let me have throughout the year truly prepared me for this moment.” 

Chapman’s goals as head coach include keeping the best players and student-athletes home in the state of Alabama and having an exciting 2023-2024 season. 

“I just want everybody to know that we’re going to run this program in a way that will make people proud,” said Chapman, “I think that we’re going to play a very fun and exciting style of basketball that people will be eager to come see and that we will have young ladies on the team that they will love to be around and support.” 

The Women’s Basketball Team has yet to release their upcoming 2023-2024 schedule.  

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