By Elisabeth Tharp | Broadcast Reporter
The three-time defending national champions and preseason No. 1 Baylor acrobatics and tumbling team opened their 2018 season by hosting No. 8 Alderson Broaddus on Sunday at the Ferrell Center.
With a sturdy start in the compulsories, earning 37.75-35.40 lead, the Bears were able to keep up their momentum secured a win in the acro event 29.30-28.50. With a falter in the pyramid event, the Bears scored 94.95-92.25 — keeping their lead into halftime.
Proceeding from their strong first half, the Bears won all three events in the second half and walked away with a win over the Battlers with a score of 267.435–251.360.
Baylor head coach Felecia Mulkey said the pyramid they had issues with in heat three was weird, because that was their go-to pyramid.
“We had actually planned to compete a different pyramid in that heat. It wasn’t hitting like we wanted it to hit,” Mulkey said. “So we put that pyramid in as a sure thing, we wanted that pyramid to be the sure thing. That was the first disappointment of the day.”
Ashley Echelberger, Gigi Mendoza, Kati Horstmann and Allie Steele’s team earned stat of the day, posting a 9.95 in heat two of the acro event.
“Expect that we are going to get better every meet. Today was just a starting point and I think it’s going to be a great season,” Echelberger said.
There aren’t many sports where both teams cheer for one another. Senior base Lauren Sturm said it’s great to be in a sport where you don’t look down on each other.
“You want the best for every team. We want the best for them and they want the best for us. It’s really cool to go across the mat and say, ‘You really deserved it,'” Strum said.
Along with both teams cheering each other on, the crowd who came to support the Bears added even more energy.
“We absolutely feed off the crowd. If the crowd is loud, then we’re just going to do better naturally because we know they’re here supporting us,” Echelberger said.
The Bears have now won a consecutive nine meets, including those last season, and move to 4-0 in season openers under Mulkey.
“We try to get better every meet,” Mulkey said. “We left a lot of room for improvement today, but you’ll see a better team on February 10th and an even better team in March.”
Mulkey said there will have to be constant improvement if the Bears want to earn their fourth championship
“We always see that with us, we always try to get better at every meet. I told the girls that we just left a lot of room for improvement,” Mulkey said.
The Bears will be hitting the road to Concordia, Wis., to take on No. 11 Concordia for their next match-up on Saturday.