Video by Elisabeth Tharp | Broadcast Reporter, Story by Thomas Mott | Reporter
The 3-1 Baylor acrobatics and tumbling team defeated the visiting 3-1 Gannon Golden Knights 287.825-271.320 Sunday afternoon in the Ferrell Center.
The Bears entered the day winners of two straight following their loss on Feb. 25 to Oregon. Senior Kiara Nowlin said that the team put in a good week of practice before this meet.
“We worked really hard… we know that in the end the little things are gonna help us win the meet,” Nowlin said.
Right out of the gate the Bears looked sharp taking the opening Compulsory Round 39.29-38.00. Gannon received multiple scores of over nine points in the compulsory round, however, Baylor’s first perfect 10 of the meet established an early lead for the Bears.
The last time these two teams faced off was April 17 of last year in Waco where Baylor jumped out to an early lead that would prove to be insurmountable. The Bears won that meet 285.174-261.480, however, that Golden Knight squad was 4-5 on the season up to that point while Baylor was 8-0.
A leader on the team for the past few seasons, senior Kaelyn Cowan help the Bears extend their early lead taking the Acro Round 29.65-29.30. The Bears now led Gannon 68.90-67.30 after two rounds. After the meet, Cowan talked about her team’s effort on the floor.
“I think we can improve on team event today we made a few errors there. Today we did good on Acro and Pyramid and Compulsories were a lot better,” Cowan said.
The final round before halftime was the Pyramid Round which the Bears controlled once again by taking the round 29.65- 28.85 and establishing a close 98.55-96.25 going into halftime.
Coming out of halftime, Gannon took the floor for the Toss Event. However, a stumble on the first toss gave more room to the Baylor lead. All three of Baylor’s tosses were better, giving them the event 28.85-27.35 and extending their lead to 127.40-123.60. However, Head Coach Felecia Mulkey was less than impressed by her team’s performance in the Toss Event.
“We have a lot of room for growth and improvement in toss and tumbling. We are going to put a lot more into our Toss and Tumbling to make sure we can score as high as we need to there,” Mulkey said.
The second to last round was Tumbling, an event where the Bears usually show why they are the defending National Champions. Sunday was no different as the Bears jumped, tucked and flipped their way to a 56.875-52.50 round victory. The Bears now held a commanding lead heading into the final event, 184.275-176.10.
Throughout the day, Baylor did not lose a single heat and the final Team Event was no different. An event where the most team members are on the floor for one single routine, the Bears capped off the meet with a score of 103.55-95.22 in the round and a total score of 287.825-271.320
When asked about how close the team is to peaking Cowan said that they are very close.
“I think we are close. We will peak at the right time and that’s not yet so we are super excited about that point. We are not there yet but we are getting there,” Cowan said.
Likewise, Coach Mulkey also agreed that the line between being good and great is small.
“We are never satisfied, so we have a ton of room for improvement. My goal every year is to peak at the right time and we didn’t peak today,” said Mulkey.
The Bears will host Oregon, the only team to beat them this season, April 2 in the Ferrell Center. When asked about the upcoming challenge of the Ducks, Cowan reiterated that the Bears are only focused on themselves.
“We go out there we think about us. We do what we normally do and we try to do it to the best of our abilities and to get as close as we can to perfection,” Cowan said.