By Caroline Lindstrom
Baylor acrobatics and tumbling (2-4) wrapped-up its regular season on senior night Saturday with a loss to Azusa Pacific University at the Ferrell Center.
“I thought that the seniors did an outstanding job tonight, and I am so proud of them for really being leaders at this meet,” said head coach LaPrise Harris-Williams.
The Bears started strong in the compulsory event, winning 38.15-38.10. Azusa Pacific fought back in the acro event, stretching the lead 66.85-66.60. The Bears fell further behind in the pyramid event 96.15-95.75 before halftime.
After the half, the Cougars dominated in the toss event, expanding the lead 125.05-123.95. Baylor bounced back in the tumbling event and closed the gap 182.175-181.575 with freshman Kiara Nowiln’s perfect 10 in the six element.
The Bears weren’t able to overcome mistakes in the team routine, falling to Azusa Pacific 280.875-277.955.
“We have been through a lot this season and we aren’t done fighting because we still have nationals,” sophomore Amanda Graceffa said. “So we are going to go back, practice as hard as we can, and come back stronger than ever.”
Harris-Williams said Azusa Pacific was a better team Saturday night, although her team gave its best effort. She said the Bears had a lot of mistakes they could not recover from when competing against another strong team like Azusa Pacific.
“We came out really strong in the first half, and we were pumped up to dedicate this meet to the seniors,” junior Ally Cheatham said. “In the second half we came out slower than usual and had some mess up, so that is definitely something we will work on before nationals.”
The Bears honored eight graduating seniors during the meet: Deonka Ceaser, Hailey Cowan, Katya Finta, Lynn Herbst, Tori Jackson, Ginger Plemmons, Kristie Serrano and Lori Williamson.
“It was awesome to come out here with the support of the crowd, especially for our seniors who have worked really hard and we love them unconditionally,” Cheatham said.
Baylor acrobatics and tumbling will head to Azusa, Calif., for the NCATA National Championships April 24-26, hosted by Azusa Pacific University.
Harris-Williams said she hoped the team would have gone into nationals at a higher seed, but the team is ready to compete wherever they are placed.
“Last time we were at APU we beat them at the last second, so we want to go in and have that vibe we had last time, and beat the first competitor we go against,” Graceffa said.