Story by Kaitlyn DeHaven | Digital Managing Editor, Video by Elisabeth Tharp | Broadcast Sports Director
Baylor acrobatics and tumbling can almost taste their fifth consecutive NCATA National Championship after defeating Quinnipiac 278.075 to 269.485 on Friday night at the Ferrell Center.
This is the eleventh time the Baylor Bears and the Quinnipiac Bobcats have competed against each other in program history. The last time the teams competed against each other was on Feb. 24 at the Ferrell Center.
The Bears led the Bobcats in every event, but the Bobcats came close to closing the gap on the Bears in almost every event, with the only exception being the team event.
Baylor head coach Felicia Mulkey said it was good for the team to be pushed today, as it sets them up to peak tomorrow. She said today pushed the team to the point of clicking, and it set them up well for tomorrow’s competition against Oregon.
“We went into it competing against Quinnipiac,” Mulkey said. “There were no promises of tomorrow – the team knew that. We had to go in and perform and execute to the best of our ability because they’re really good.”
In the compulsory event, Baylor led Quinnipiac in every heat and finished the heat 37.750, which was a little less than a point more than Quinnipac, who finished the event with 36.900.
Acro was one of only two events where Baylor fell behind Quinnipac for a heat. In heat two, which is 6-element, the Bears scored a 9.325 to the Bobcats’ 9.700. Pyramid was a great follow-up event, as the Bears had little errors.
The Bears went up .5 from yesterday in the toss event, and Mulkey said she was extremely proud of her team for the improvement. Senior top/base Kaylee Adams, who was just recently added to the toss event about two weeks ago, said the basis of trust is truly shown in the toss event, where you not only have to trust your bases, but yourself as well.
“Trust is a huge concept in this sport – you’re trusting your life with these people and they’re throwing you around, especially in toss,” Adams said. “Trust yourself, trust each other and I close my eyes.”
Tumbling was the second event where the Bears scored lower than Quinnipiac in one heat, which was the open pass. Luckily for the team, the rest of the passes scores surpassed the Bobcats’ scores.
The Quinnipiac team struggled a bit in the team event when a few of the athletes dropped top 9, but the team made a swift recovery to finish out the event 91.710 out of 106.21. Baylor finished their team event a bit below their average as well, coming in with 96.950 out of 109.15.
Junior top Alexsis Amrhein said despite the close match, today she felt the clicking that Mulkey always talks about with the team. She said that she truly felt the fact that it’s not about the trophy in the end.
“Today I felt that,” Amrhein said. “I literally have no doubt and I’m so excited to go in tomorrow and annihilate and trust our teammates. I felt it.”
Mulkey said that tomorrow the team must go out and execute. She said that while Baylor has some start values on Oregon, they mean absolutely nothing if they can’t execute.
She said she looks forward to the team having “the feeling” tomorrow, no matter what the scoreboard says. She said that “the feeling” and the scores have no correlation, and that she’s looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.
“I’ve never gotten the feeling when the scores are announced. It never has anything to do with the trophy. It sounds so stupid and crazy but you can’t explain it from the inside and you can’t understand it from the outside.”