EUGENE, Ore. -- In a pause between tumbling sequences in the Matthew Night Arena, the crowd erupted, cheering and stomping, sending noise rumbling around the half-full stadium.
The Oregon Acrobatics and Tumbling Team, full of adrenaline in their dark matching uniforms and bright shoes, joined in from their side of the giant mat covering the center of the arena floor, setting even the giant monitors above them trembling from the energy.
Staying warm between sequences was not hard for the team, as they practiced tossing each other high into the air and every once in a while, a few hands-free backflips.
Facing off against the Baylor team on Saturday, March 2, Oregon did not shrink from giving their very best, trumping Baylor in each of the five categories. Most notably, the team routine where Oregon earned 91.60 out of 110 possible points, while Baylor earned 84.74.
“We really wanted to hit all the skills in our team routine,” Felecia Mulkey, the Oregon head coach, said. “Everyone’s feet on the ground, all stackers still staying in the air, we worked hard on that. That, and also just the acro, we really focused on that, because we had some bobbles in our first meet. We want less deductions in the team routine, just with form breaks, legs apart, things like that… And they did exactly what they were supposed to do. We were pretty happy with that performance.”
“We had a couple of setbacks in toss, but yeah, it was one of our better meets,” Mulkey said. It was their second meet of the season. “We’re really trying to bring our acro scores up, and I think our five elements did a great job. Scoring a 9.6 in acro is pretty good. That’s pretty close to a 10. I’ll take it.”
Not one to overlook anything, Mulkey added that there are some ways to bump that score up to the next level..
“We also want to improve our tumbling event. Not only improve the skill, but we have a 9.6 start value and we’d like to get a 10 start value. So we’re going to just keep upping that," said Mulkey.
Even with acknowledging room for improvement, the team was very happy as well.
“We just came out today and we executed all the stuff that we thought we would,” Lauren Loos, said, who holds one of the base positions in sequences. “We just stayed calm. We were really excited, we practiced hard.”
“We knew they’d come out and be strong, and we just wanted to make sure we were on our game,” Loos said, flushed after the win. “We’re going to work on not stepping off the floor in our tumbling and get better at that.”
Oregon’s next meet is March 16th, 2 pm, at Matthew Night Arena again, facing off against Fairmont State.
Looking towards the future and her last year on the team, since she is a senior, Loos added, “We’re always going to consistently get better, just staying as a team, just focusing on ourselves, hopefully to be undefeated, with two national championships.”
With an overall score of 266.775 out of 300 total points, versus Baylor’s 249.265, Oregon has made a big change from their last meet where they barely managed to pull in the win only a few points ahead of the other team.
Mulkey does not see a reason to slow down now though, “We do have some room for improvement, so we’ll start working on that on Monday.”