By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
No. 1 Baylor acrobatics and tumbling and head coach Felecia Mulkey further cemented their legacy with their seventh-straight national championship, defeating No. 3 Gannon University 273.685-268.965 on Saturday night in Eugene, Ore.
“I’m just really proud of my team,” Mulkey said. “It’s been a long year and it was quite the trajectory and we wanted to peak today and I think that we did.”
In typical fashion, the Bears won every single heat in the opening compulsory event. With over nines in all but one heat, the defending champs took a 38.25-37.50 lead.
In the second event, Baylor once again came away with a slim advantage as they won each heat in the acro event and totaled 29.575-28.60 over Gannon.
To finish off the first half, the Bears dropped one heat in the pyramid event. However, they still managed to come out with an even smaller victory with a 29.450 to Gannon’s 29.350. Going into halftime, they led with a total meet score of 97.275-95.450.
The competition got even closer coming out of the break as the Bears won the toss event by .025 points. With an event score of 28.800 compared to Gannon’s 27.775.
The Bears did not fold in the clutch, winning all six heats in the tumbling event to push their lead to the widest gap up to that point in the meet. Out-scoring Gannon 59.95-54.20. Going into the final event, Baylor led 183.025-178.425.
Senior base Faith Coor said it was a sentimental meet for her being a senior in her last season.
“Honestly, it didn’t hit me until the team event that it was the last one for me,” Coor said. “It was definitely emotional because you put your blood, sweat, tears, your heart and soul into this program for four years and that all comes down to the last team event.”
The team event was the deciding one, where the defending champions came out with another sleek win, finishing with a score of 90.660-90.540, completing their seven-peat. Despite her seventh national title with Baylor, Mulkey is still hungry for more wins.
“They’re all so special, they’re all so different, the journey every year is so different,” Mulkey said. “Seven was fun, eight is going to be fantastic. We’re going to go for another one next year.”