No. 1 Baylor A&T advances, earns shot at seventh-straight national title

No. 1 Baylor acrobatics and tumbling defeated No. 4 Quinnipiac University Friday night in Eugene, Ore., to advance to their seventh-straight national championship match. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer

No. 1 Baylor acrobatics and tumbling are headed to the national championship after defeating No. 4 Quinnipiac University 273.600-269.160 Friday night in Eugen, Ore. The Bears will battle No. 3 Gannon University for their seventh-consecutive national title on Saturday at 7 p.m.

“Yesterday we left a little out there in the second half and I feel like we improved a little bit [today], but I do think we left a little out there,” head coach Felecia Mulkey said. “We’ve got some more points we can grab tomorrow. Overall, super proud of the team, had a great mindset the whole time.”

Baylor started the meet in typical Bear fashion, not losing a single heat in the compulsory event. They scored a 9.10 or better in each heat to kick off the meet with a .3 lead, 38.6-38.3 over the Bobcats.

The second heat was more of the same with the Bears posting a 9.85, 9.875 and another 9.85 to slightly widen their lead to 68.175-67.550.

Despite once again winning every heat in the pyramid event, the Bears still only won the event by half a point. Finishing 29.650-29.150 to push their overall advantage to 97.8825-96.700 going into halftime.

Out of the break, the Bears won the toss event by their largest advantage of the night, winning by just under a point. After four events the Bears led 126.575-124.650. Mulkey said the team always feels very confident after winning the toss event.

“Anytime we score higher than the other team in the toss event, there’s a huge celebration,” Mulkey said. “We won the toss event tonight, we could’ve walked out of the gym right there. We were so excited to do that.”

Once again, the Bears dropped a heat in the fifth event, tumbling. However, they were still able to win every other heat and come out on top with a 57.675-56.200 victory. Going into the team event, the Bears were in good position to hold onto their 184.250-180.850 lead.

Baylor finished strong in the team event with a 89.350 performance to the Bobcats’ 88.310 to complete the sweep of events and advance to the national championship.

“I don’t know how to put it into words, but I’m really excited,” sophomore base Riley Chimwala said. “I have a lot of great people surrounding me. So, I’m really excited to go into it and just do it with everybody and be one together.”