Last year, Baylor Acrobatics and Tumbling did something no Baylor team had done before—win back-to-back national championships. This year, they extended their historic run by adding another.
Baylor A&T claimed their third straight national championship April 29 by upending top-seeded Oregon in the NCATA National Championships in Azusa, California. In the final, the Bears trailed after the first four events before coming back to win the closest of their three national championship meets by a score of 279.350 to 275.625.
“I’m so proud of this team. Our girls came out today and wanted it,” head coach Felecia Mulkey said. “The girls were ready to do whatever it took to make it happen. They never doubted, even when Oregon won some events and took leads. When it was time for the team event, I told them to leave it all on the floor and have no regrets. We were so determined not to be denied.”
The victory continued an astounding run for Baylor A&T and for Mulkey, whose influence on the sport is unmatched.
Organized as a college sport by the National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA) in 2011, Mulkey has coached every national championship team in the sport’s existence. She won the first four titles with Oregon, before coming to Baylor in 2014 and winning the next three. Mulkey also played a key role in acrobatics and tumbling gaining recognition and prominence as a college sport.
The Bears finished their championship season with a 9-1 record and a number of individual honors. Senior Kiara Nowlin was named NCATA Most Outstanding Player; senior Kaelyn Cowan and junior Lauren Sturm were recognized as All-Americans.
A&T’s victory marked the seventh varsity athletic team national title in Baylor history. A&T’s three-year run (2015-2017) was preceded by national championships in men’s tennis (2004), women’s basketball (2005, 2012) and equestrian (2012).