By Jeffrey Swindoll
Baylor will enter the 2015 National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling National Championship as the one-seed. The National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Assocation announced the entire tournament bracket on Wednesday.
Hosted by Fairmont State University, the tournament will take place April 24-25 in at Joe Retton Arena in Fairmont, W. Va.
The Bears blazed a historic trail this season, defeating the four-time national champion Oregon Ducks twice, previously ranked No. 1 in the NCATA, finishing the year with a perfect 9-0 record. This year marks the first time Baylor received the one-seed of the tournament. The Bears face eight-seed King University at noon on April 23.
Head coach Felecia Mulkey (no relation to women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey) looks to earn her fifth-straight national title. Her previous four titles, all with the Ducks, set her apart as the most successful coach in collegiate acrobatics & tumbling. This emerging sport could become Baylor’s next varsity team to bring home a national championship.
Two-seed Hawaii Pacific University follow behind the Bears after finishing the regular season 5-1. The Sharks’ only loss this season came in their opening meet with Azusa Pacific. The Sharks went on to win five consecutive meets, ending with a massive upset over Oregon.
Three-seed Oregon has won the competition four years in a row. The Ducks faltered this season after losing twice to Baylor and once against Hawaii Pacific, both by a close margin. First-year head coach Chelsea Shaw could lead Oregon to its fifth-straight national title and first title without Mulkey.
Four-seed Azusa Pacific University finished 2-4, but the win-loss record may be deceiving. The Cougars were the only team to have beaten two-seed Hawaii Pacific this season. In comparison to the teams lower-seed in the bracket, the Cougars actually have a worse record, but more quality wins.
Quinnipiac University received the five-seed after ending the regular season with a 5-3 record and Alderson Broaddus University (6-5) was selected as the six-seed. The hosting Fairmont State University (4-5) are the seven-seed.
The winners of the meet between Baylor and King will face the winner of the Azusa-Quinnipiac meet.