No. 1 Baylor acro & tumbling defeats No. 4 Gannon on Senior Night, Mulkey finds 90th win

The Bears, who celebrated Senior Night on Saturday, have now won 33 straight matches, dating back to March 27, 2021. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Zach Babajanof-Rustrian | Sports Writer

No. 1 Baylor acrobatics and tumbling held off No. 4 Gannon by a score of 278.715-275.555 on Saturday evening at the Ferrell Center as part of the Bears’ Senior Night.

With the victory, Baylor (6-0) head coach Felecia Mulkey earned her 90th-career win with the program.

Mulkey said she was very proud of the win and that she couldn’t “believe I’ve been doing this long enough to get 90 wins.”

In addition to the win, Mulkey and the team celebrated the team’s seven graduating seniors: tumblers Kristen McCain and Gianna Vaiarelli, tops Brennah Cotner and Ally Joswick, and bases Zoë Collins, Riley Chimwala and Bayley Humphrey.

“It definitely was emotional,” McCain said of the Senior Night meet. “I was trying not to cry the whole time, but I feel like it just doesn’t feel real still [and] that it’s our last time because we still have so much of this season left. But definitely really sad.”

The Bears started off the meet hot in the Compulsory event, as they landed a score of 38.35. They were able to post a 9.75 in Acro, 9.80 in Pyramid, 9.85 and an 8.95 in Tumbling on the scoreboard. Baylor went into the second event with a lead of 38.35 to the Golden Knights’ (6-1) 37.80.

In the optional portion of the meet, the Bears were able to garner a total score of 29.30, while Gannon scored a total of 28.60. Baylor was able to maintain its lead going into the Pyramid event, as it held a 67.65-66.40 advantage.

The Bears were scored a 9.90 in heat one, an 8.60 in heat two and then a 9.90 in heat three. Gannon, however, totaled 29.50 points to Baylor’s 28.40, but the Bears still held a slim (.15-point) overall lead going into the half.

After the break, in the Toss event, the Bears amassed 29.00 points for the event, while the Golden Nights put up 28.55. Going into the meet, toss was Baylor’s weakest event compared to Gannon’s, and McCain said the team was thrilled to flip that notion on the mat.

“I think being able to just come in and really focus on the details [in Toss] this last week just felt awesome,” McCain said. “I mean, it felt like we won the meet right then and there when we won [the] toss event.”

In the fifth event of the meet, the Tumbling event, freshman top Payton Washington scored the highest points of the meet in the 6-Element Pass with a 9.925. The Bears were able to record a total of 57.025 for the event, while Gannon accumulated 55.275, still trailing the Bears 182.075 to 179.725 going into the final event.

In the Team event, the Bears posted 96.64 points compared to the Golden Knights’ total of 95.83, bringing Baylor to win the meet and give Mulkey her 90th win.

Now, Baylor will turn its attention toward Augustana for a road meet at 6 p.m. on Saturday, followed by another test at Oregon on April 5.

“We have Augustana next week, a little bit different in start value,” Mulkey said. “So they’re good. They’re really good. They’re coached by a former Bear, just different in start value, so it gives you a little cushion. And then the week after Easter is Oregon, so we have some upgrades and some cleaning up we’re going to do.”