By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
No. 1 seed Baylor acrobatics and tumbling completed the repeat after beating No. 2 Oregon for the third time this season, winning the 2023 NCATA National Championship by a score of 278.855-268.555 on Saturday inside the ASRC on West Liberty University’s campus in West Liberty, W.Va.
The Bears (11-0) have now won eight-straight national titles, all under 12-time champion head coach Felecia Mulkey.
“We won, but we had to fight for it at the end,” Mulkey said. “We had to decide at halftime we were going to have to fight for it, everybody had to come together and fight it out, and they did.”
Mulkey added that the team continues to look ahead for another national championship.
“We’ll take it a year at a time but yeah, I’ve already started working on next year’s team event,” Mulkey said.
Both teams came out firing in the opening Compulsory event, scoring nines or higher in all but one heat. Baylor scored no lower than a 9.075 but dropped a single heat, and it won the event 38.475-38.200. The Bears claimed every heat in event two, scoring a 9.5 or better in each to claim the Acro event 29.300-28.275.
In the pyramid event, the two squads took off. Neither team put up a score lower than 9.775, and in the final heat the Bears notched a perfect 10 to clinch their tight event win 29.575-29.475. This brought the meet total to 97.350-95.950 with Baylor leading heading into the break.
Coming out of the intermission, the defending champs once again narrowly won the event after giving up a single heat. It grabbed the Toss event 28.700-28.575 to slightly widen its lead going into the Tumbling event. Similarly, the Bears won all but one heat on the fifth event, posting a 57.575 to Oregon’s 56.150. Baylor led 183.625-180.675 going into the Team event.
The Bears flexed their dominance in the team event, winning 95.230-87.880 to once again solidify their spot on top of the mountain.