By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer
Baylor’s No. 3-ranked acrobatics and tumbling team faced off with longtime rival No. 2 Oregon on Saturday, winning 287.430-283.885. The win finishes off Baylor’s regular season 4-1, with over a week to prepare for the NCATA National Championship.
Baylor’s only loss on the year came at the hands of the Ducks in an early season showdown, but the Bears were able to get their revenge this time. Both teams came into the meet with one loss, and now Oregon will drop into the two-loss category, a significant fall in a season with so few chances for redemption.
As for the Bears, head coach Felecia Mulkey feels they’re in a great position to continue improving and perform at their highest level in the championship meet.
“[The girls feel] amazing, they’re ready to get back to practice,” Mulkey said. “They’re taking tomorrow off, whether they want to or not. But they’re ready to get back in and get going. For me, we’re on the right trajectory, right where we need to be going into these next two weeks. So, we feel pretty good. We have a lot of work to do, but I think it’s in places that we can pinpoint and really work to improve. So, I’m excited to see what they’re going to do in the championship.”
Baylor took the lead after the compulsory round and never looked back. They came on especially strong in the acrobatics event, nabbing two perfect 10s. Sophomore Emily Tobin took the top spot in both heats, bringing in important points for the Bears.
Baylor eked out a win in the pyramid event, squeaking by the Ducks 29.75-29.60. A pair of 9.95 scores in the event were key for Baylor, one coming in the inversion heat and the other coming in the open heat.
While Baylor came out on top of a close one in the pyramid, they’d have no such luck in the toss. Oregon took the win in that event by a score of 29.15-28.85. Even in the event loss, Baylor still had strong showings. The Bears received scores of 9.70 in the salto and synchronized heats, as well as a 9.45 in the open heat.
Where Baylor really began to separate themselves was the tumbling event, where they would outscore Oregon by almost two points. Another victory in the team portion gave Baylor the overall win, and brought back the bragging rights they lost in March.
Next on the docket for Baylor is the NCATA National Championship. The field for this year’s championship meet has been reduced 50% due to COVID restrictions. The title proceedings were originally set to go off in Eugene, Ore., the home of the Ducks. Now that they’re in Waco, Baylor can set their sights on their sixth consecutive title, and Baylor’s second national championship in three weeks. The acrobatics and tumbling championships will take place on April 22 and 23 in the Ferrell Center.