By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
No. 1 Baylor Acro & Tumbling defeated Gannon University Tuesday night to the tune of 290.65-280.665. The Bears earned season-highs in five of the six events across the evening.
Baylor started off with records in each heat of the Compulsory Event as well as in the Acro Event. They led 68.8-67.85 after the first two contests, and that lead grew again in a strong, but not record-setting Pyramid Event, allowing the Bears to stroll into halftime with a 1.7-point lead.
The Bears were struck with their lowest-scoring event this year up next with the Toss, but they pulled out a season-high 29.2 points in the fourth event of the night. Sophomore top Sophia Ranni, who participated in both heats Tuesday night, said after the meet that the competitiveness in practice has driven them to these heights.
“We put a lot of work into tosses this week, so it’s just really awesome to see our hard work pay off out there today,” Ranni said. “It’s been really awesome to have that competition at practice where everybody’s pushing each other, and whoever can do it best is what they’re going to put out there on game day.”
Even with the record performance, the Bears still lost the Toss event 29.3-29.2, but it would be the only loss of Gannon’s six chances to overthrow the defending national champs. The Tumbling Event has been Baylor’s bread and butter all season, but even head coach Fee Mulkey didn’t see this kind of output her team would put out against Gannon.
The Bears scored a 58.9 out of 59.55 in the fifth event of the evening, including season-highs in five of the six heats as well as the overall score. The season-highs included 9.975 out of 10 in the Aerial Pass and the 6 Element Pass, as well as a perfect 10 by freshman tumbler Tori Harris in the Open Pass. She said it’s all about trusting the coaches to put up that kind of number.
“It feels really good,” Harris said. “It just is a confidence booster, and it just makes me feel happy for our team.”
Baylor went into the final event of the night, the Team Event, with a commanding lead, and they only extended it with their best performance of the season. The Bears scored a 104.15, 4.35 points higher than their previous best.
All in all, Baylor scored a season-high in 17 of the 20 heats throughout the night, and just missed adding two more to that list. Mulkey said after the meet that it’s great to see their hard work paying off with improvement.
“We worked on cleaning up some little things,” Mulkey said. “We’re kind of finding our feet now, and the exciting thing is we have so much more room for improvement, so many more things that we can put out there. So we’re excited about today, and then can’t wait to see what we can do at the next meet.”
The Bears will head back out on the road for their next matchup with Presbyterian College and St. Leo University at 7 p.m. Monday in Clinton, S.C.