Twice in a lifetime: Baylor captures second ‘acro’ title, finishes undefeated

Sophomores Madison and Meredith Aldis celebrate the Bears’ second-straight NCATA national championship together. Madison and Meredith, who were both freshmen when Baylor won its first national championship, are identical twins. Photo credit: Penelope Shirey

The Baylor acrobatics and tumbling team took home the NCATA championship trophy for the second year in a row after edging its way past No. 2 Oregon Tuesday night at the Ferrell Center, 286.275-282.305.

“This year had its own story right up to the national championship tournament. It was no more special than any, but there is something to be said for winning in your home court, in front of this kind of crowd,” said head coach Felecia Mulkey.

Although there were no perfect 10s on the night, the Bears’ composure as a team allowed them to soar past the Ducks for the third time this season, to take home the national title.

“All the time, all the effort and everything we put in,” said freshman Kaylee Adams. “It paid off in this moment.”

The Bears have won 21 straight over the past two seasons, and with 2,163 in attendance, the night surpassed the Baylor and NCATA attendance record.

“Two undefeated seasons, two national titles, it is just an amazing feeling, but our team worked so hard,” junior Kiara Nowlin said. “Oregon and all the other teams are amazing, but I feel like we really worked hard this year and deserved the title.”

With the Bears taking all the energy from the start, they quickly took the compulsory event 38.90-38.40.

“The experience was way better because we wer in front of our friends, family, fans around Texas. We feed off their energy,” Nowlin said.

Continuing to fuel off the support at the Ferrell Center the Bears took the acro round 29.40-29.15.

Baylor’s lead started to rack up slowly, but surely. The Bears went into the half up 98.100-97.100 after edging out the Ducks in the pyramid event, 29.80-29.55.

“We were so excited all day today, but we knew we had to stay in control of the motions,” Nowlin said. “We took control, and that’s what we wanted to do. We knew if we messed up we weren’t going to let the momentum swing. We had a really solid meet.”

The Bears could taste the national title now. Baylor continued to shine in the second half of the meet, taking the toss event right 29.45-29.20.

“Baylor just did it right, its just so much fun I can’t get enough,” Mulkey said.

It was downhill for the Bears as they entered tumbling, an event they have dominated in this season.

Although Nowlin did not get a perfect 10 this time around, the Bears’ in-sync routines were enough to take the event 58.675-57.225

“We will take a national title any day,” Nowlin said. “I didn’t get a 10, but I was still excited about the pass. I thought it was solid.”

Going into the final event of the night, Nowlin knew that anything could happen and that focus would be key.

“You never know what to expect. You can’t let your guard down. Crazier things have happened,” Nowlin said. “We knew we had to go in and execute just as if we were down before the team event.”

With focus and precision, the Bears took the team event 100.05-98.78 and a national title.

“I knew this morning we were going to be okay. I can tell by the way they are in the morning and just how they handle themselves,” Mulkey said. “There was an eerie calm in the locker room. It was just our day.

“We decided, and I told them, that this is a national championship meet, but let’s not give anybody any power over defining us. I don’t care what the scores are, everytime, let’s walk off satisfied.”