By Kasey McMillian
Baylor’s acrobatics and tumbling team has a group of young athletes — young, but talented. The team consists of one senior and three juniors in a total of 35 women.
“Our best quality probably overall is we’re good at tumbling and stunting. We don’t just have special girls that just tumble or girls that just stunt as a team most all of us can do both,” sophomore Crysten Timbes said.
The Bears are also experiencing their first season with new head coach LaPrise Harris-Williams, a former tumbling clinician and choreographer.
“She is amazing, very talented,” freshman Lindsey Lau said. “I had a lot of coaches in my life. [She is] one of the only ones I feel like I can trust 100 percent with anything she tells me. I would be willing to try anything and honestly I’ve never felt that way with a coach before, so what she can do and what she has to offer us is incredible and I don’t think anyone else would be better for that position.”
The Bears started out their season on Feb. 4 in a six-event competition in Azusa, Calif., at the Cougar Dome.
Baylor’s team began the event with a 38.5-38 win in Compulsories.
Baylor held the lead after the second event but Azusa Pacific came back with a 65.42-62.66 result in the Acro event.
Then the Lady Bears won the first basket toss heat 9.4-8.75, but the Cougars took the second basket toss 9.3-9.1. Baylor was close behind the Cougars at 120.92-117.56, but then the Lady Bears fell behind after dropping the pyramid event.
“We need to improve on having more confidence as a team,” said sophomore Crysten Timbes. “Sometimes when we go out we get a little nervous, we just got to make sure we don’t let out nerves get to us.”
Baylor won three of the six tumbling heats, but APU’s three wins were larger by margins, extending the lead to 174.12-170.66. Then they headed into the final team routine event, but Azusa won by more than 8.5 points, giving the Cougars a final score of 269.39 and Baylor a 257.4.
“We’ve actually competed really well considering all that we’ve been through our first meet,” said sophomore Hailey Cowan. “You know we didn’t come out with a win but I would definitely say we won mentally. I’ve never been happy to lose and I was very happy when we left the meet.”
The Bears’ next competitions will be in Oregon on March 4, a tri-meet at Fairmont State on March 11, and Baylor will host its first home meet of the season at the Ferrell Center on March 24 against Maryland.
“For the next competition, we’re just really [going to] work on concentrating on our technique and each individual skill and making sure that we execute everything to a T, just make sure it’s perfect,” Lau said. “Our best quality is we are really good with change, you know we have been through a lot and just a lot of changes being made and this is part of the sport is always having changes always wanting to better yourself, and we are willing to do anything it takes in order to win and be better.”