A&T’s Emily Tobin never settles for average

Junior tumbler Emily Tobin didn't start acrobatics until she came to Baylor after being recruited by Felicia Mulkey due to her cheer background. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer

Imagine competing in a sport for the first time ever when you get to college, then winning Most Outstanding Athlete, being named an All-American, and winning a national title in just your second season. That’s how things started for junior tumbler Emily Tobin.

The Baylor acrobatics and tumbling standout spent most of her adolescence in cheer, and it wasn’t until her trip to Baylor that she decided to take on acro.

“I ended up visiting a couple cheer schools and then it wasn’t until my recruiting trips at Baylor that I was like, ‘This is a sport for me,’” Tobin said. “It was just a better fit, and from the recruiting trips, it’s more of the sport, instead of cheer, that I wanted to do.”

With her cheer and gymnastics background, Tobin was able to quickly adjust to the new sport and flourished immediately. Head coach Felicia Mulkey said she knew from the start that Tobin would be special. She said the recruiting staff flew out to see Tobin which is something they hardly ever do.

“She is a fantastic athlete and when you find somebody like that, you want to make sure that they’re not just an athlete, you want to make sure they have the mentality that’s going to be for us,” Mulkey said. “She was fantastic coming out of high school, but had so much potential for this sport. So we were like, ‘Let’s go. Let’s go get her to come here.’”

Tobin said her parents are the ones that push the hardest, because they have always taught her to never settle. Her parents, both former gymnasts, are the ones who inspired Emily to take on the world of cheer and acro.

“My parents are always pushing me to be better even though they’re proud of me and everything,” Tobin said. “I still want to show them that I can keep going.”

That mentality translated to how she approaches every meet as well as every practice. Despite winning Most Outstanding Athlete and a national championship, she stays hungry because she believes there is always room for improvement no matter what.

“I really like challenge,” Tobin said. “I just keep wanting to challenge myself to grow as an athlete and to be better. Every practice I challenge myself to gain that little next level of perfection.”

No matter how much success and improvement Tobin achieves, Mulkey said Tobin never changes her approach to the game.

“Tobin doesn’t change,” Mulkey said. “She’s the most humble person you’ll ever meet. We continuously try to find ways to coach everyone and what verbal cues are going to work for them but our approach really hasn’t changed with her. She’s probably harder on ourselves than we are on her.”

Mulkey said that Tobin is an outstanding athlete, but having someone with her personality as a leader has been really important to their success as a team, and has made things easier on the coaching staff as well. Mulkey’s goal for Tobin is to keep progressing.

“Our goal is to just keep trending upward,” Mulkey said. “A lot of people, not her, but a lot of people would plateau and just mentally at some point and say, ‘You know what, I’ve achieved all of this.’ But I think her goal and my goal as well for her is just to keep trending upward just learning new skills, perfecting new skills and putting them out there.”

Tobin doubled-down on never getting complacent, and always trying to get better.

“Just have fun and keep expanding my skill set. Never, never settle for average, I want to keep pushing myself to my best abilities,” Tobin said.