EUGENE, Ore. - Matt Knight Arena was rocking Saturday as a large group sporting matching neon-yellow Oregon Acro & Tumbling shirts seemed to be the personal cheer squad for an Oregon player.
They took their job very seriously.
Families came out in full force to cheer on the Oregon Acrobatics and Tumbling team as they faced off against the Fairmont team from West Virginia, and they were not disappointed.
Outperforming the Fairmont Falcons, the Oregon Ducks won 284.130 to 265.710, a larger margin compared to their very first meet where they scraped by a few points in the lead. After three meets, the Ducks stand undefeated.
Even so, head coach Felecia Mulkey continues to seek improvement.
“We didn’t feel like this was our best meet,” Mulkey said. “We worked really hard in our team routine to take out a lot of small things, we think we did that, but we missed a lot of things. So we were kind of surprised that the score was as high, we were hoping that’s simply because of everything else we cleaned up.”
Oregon scored 101.150 out of 110 possible points in the team routine, while Fairmont scored 95.260.
“It helps a lot when our team confidence is up in team routines,” Tara Lubert said. “We used to go into it really nervous and scared, and I feel like lately it’s been a lot more positive. Even at practice, we’ll take the team routine like its something that we want to do, and its fun.”
Lubert, a sophomore, was named NCATA Newcomer of the Year in 2012.
“We’ve maxed out at difficulty,” Mulkey said in regards to the team routine. “So that means we want to clean all the 14 sections. So that’s what we’ll continue to work on, moving toward the national championship.”
The pyramid event was the only time Fairmont came closer than a few points away, yet Oregon still beat them 29.35 to 29.15.
“I was happy with our tumbling scores today, we really cleaned a lot of tumbling that we’ve been working on all week so we were happy,” Mulkey said. “Our goal this week was to get higher in every heat than we did in everything else, and we did that.”
The Ducks trumped the Falcons 57.03 to 53.20 in the tumbling event.
“Practices are a lot more focused now,” Lubert said. “I think that’s what is different about it.”
Oregon will be facing off against Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., on March 25, the first day of spring break for the Ducks.
The Oregon coaches all went without shoes during the meet on Saturday, pushing their team and taking notes in bare, well-manicured feet.
When asked, Mulkey explained that the NCAA had teamed up with Samaritan’s Feet to help raise money for the national non-profit to give shoes and socks to impoverished families.
The fundraising was not announced at the beginning of the game, and many people may have just thought the coaches were being “lazy” as Mulkey put it.
“But I’m a big germaphobe!” she said, laughing.
The Ducks’ next home meet is against Azusa Pacific University on Tuesday, April 2, at Matthew Knight Arena.