Meet Miss Girl, Baylor A&T’s biggest man-made fan

Miss Girl has become Baylor acrobatics and tumbling's biggest fan. Photo courtesy of Baylor A&T

By Michael Haag | Sports Writer

Super fans are common at Baylor athletic events — living human ones are, at least. When No. 1 Baylor acrobatics and tumbling hits the road Tuesday morning for the NCATA National Championships to defend their title in Eugene, Ore., the team will have Miss Girl, a mannequin-turned-fan, on the sidelines.

Originally, this figure was supposed to showcase different sets of jerseys on display, but one Halloween practice changed everything and turned the lifeless dummy into an integral part of the team.

“It kind of all started on Halloween when we all had our costumes on for practice and the mannequin happened to be out here,” senior base Kate Puentes said. “Everyone took the costumes off for practice and kind of put them on her and then she just stayed out here this whole time.”

At first, the Bears (8-0) did not think Miss Girl would make the trip to nationals, but some helping hands offered assistance and now the figure has taken a journey across the country, starting in Maryland.

Now making several stops across the country, Miss Girl’s journey can be found on Instagram under the handle @miss.girl_29.

“Miss Girl is definitely on her way [to Eugene],” head coach Felecia Mulkey said. “So yes, please, please follow her Instagram, the team is really having a lot of fun.”

To the team, the mannequin’s trek is quite impressive and comical, but also a fun thing to take part in outside of the mats.

“It’s the craziest thing,” Puentes said. “We’ve been getting picture updates in each state that she’s been going to. She’s all laid out, she was tanning earlier today. She was next to the Montana sign or something the other day. It’s very comical, I can’t believe it.”

Before the traveling took place, Mulkey made sure to surprise her defending champs with an announcement that ended up on social media. The head coach in her eighth year said the squad’s reaction was similar to how football teams react when a walk-on earns a scholarship.

What sparked out of a joke has evolved, as the entire team rallies around Miss Girl in the most unique ways.

“We weren’t even planning on bringing her and then our manager was like, ‘I’ll go grab her,’ brought her and kept her in the corner of the little walkway during our meet,” Puentes said. “We didn’t realize it was going to get as much attention as it did, but she’s definitely our number-one fan on the sideline, for sure.”

While the group has loads of fun through Miss Girl’s existence, it still has the ability to “flip the switch” into a competitive mode, proven by its undefeated dominance this season.

“[On] the trip to Oregon I told them on the bus, I was like, ‘This is the most fun I’ve had on a trip in a really long time,’” Mulkey said. “They’re really good at flipping the switch. They’re not going to sit around and worry about the meet or worry about competing. They’re going to have a blast, laugh and make fun of each other and do Miss Girl’s Instagram. When it’s time they’ll flip the switch and compete, so I do enjoy that about them. They don’t take themselves too seriously. I think that’s great to be around.”

Puentes reiterated that notion, as she said the group has the ability to get down and get serious when they need to. Additionally, the senior out of California said through camaraderie and fun, they have been able to come up with new ideas on the mat, furthering their dominance.

“We’re able to be serious when we need to be but also have a good time, joke around, laugh and create Miss Girl and do fun things. That’s how crazy new tumbling things come about,” Puentes said. “We’re all just pushing each other constantly. It’s like, ‘I’m going to try this’ and then you’re like, ‘Oh, well maybe I’ll try that too.’ Then it becomes a competitive atmosphere, but we are all supportive of each other so it’s a really cool environment to be in.”

Baylor acrobatics and tumbling, supported by Miss Girl, hopes to defend its national title, starting with a first-round matchup against No. 8 Converse University. The contest is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT Thursday in Eugene, Ore.