Acrobatics & TumblingSports

Oregon acrobatics and tumbling rockets over No. 1 Baylor

In a rematch of last year’s national championship against Baylor, No. 2 Oregon acrobatics and tumbling upset the No. 1-ranked Bears in what could be the biggest win since Chelsea Shaw took over as head coach.

On Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena, Oregon outscored Baylor 285.025-277.90. The Ducks dominated the first half and kept their momentum throughout the whole meet, finishing off with an inspirational team event to win their first meet against Baylor since Felecia Mulkey departed Eugene to coach the Bears.

“Our girls worked so hard and they really believed they could do, it so I’m happy to see that pay off,” Shaw said.

Oregon (3-0) dominated round one one as the Ducks outscored the Bears in each of the four categories in the compulsory round to take a 38.60-37.95 lead.

Oregon had a minor slip up in the six-element heat of the acro event, scoring a 9.40 while Baylor snagged a 9.75. The Bears outscored the Ducks 29.20-28.90 in the second event but still trailed 67.50-67.15 in the overall meet.

The pyramid event was important for Oregon to keep momentum and a halftime lead. The Ducks overcame halftime deficits in their first two meets.

“We just really trained first half,” Shaw said. “We do have a strong first half and in the meets we haven’t been executing it as best we could. We can never rely on the second half in a meet.”

In the open heat of the pyramid event, Oregon’s team and the crowd erupted after a strong heat, but the Ducks only scored a 9.80 in the heat. Baylor edged Oregon in the event but the Ducks led 96.85-96.45 at the intermission.

At halftime, the crowd of 1,273 erupted with chants.

“The crowd was awesome,” Shaw said. “We need the crowd. The girls feed off of them. We love them and [it’s] so fun to have the whole community supporting us.”

Following the break, the toss event ensued. In the third open heat Oregon scored a thunderous 9.95 while Baylor scored 9.55. Oregon won the event 29.15-28.95 to take a narrow lead into the fifth event of the meet.

The tumbling event has been important for Oregon in its past two meets. Oregon’s Krista Phillips scored a perfect 10 in the open heat while Reagan Trussell scored a 9.90 to help the Ducks out-score Baylor 58.725-58.50 in the event. The Ducks led 184.725-183.90 heading into the all-important team event.

“I think for me it was great to do that for my team,” Phillips said unselfishly.

Prior to the start of Oregon’s routine in the team event, Shaw urged the fans to stand up and cheer during the Ducks’ routine.

Oregon looked nearly flawless in the team event and was greeted with a roar from the crowd that foreshadowed the upset win.

“I think that we really left our hearts out there,” Phillips said. “Even if we didn’t win we still would have felt really accomplished. The win was just an extra bonus.”

Oregon’s score was reflected in the excitement of the team and the fans, with a 100.30-94.00 win in the heat to win the meet 285.025-277.90.

The victory feels sweet right now for Oregon but focus will shift ahead once again for the Ducks.

“We’ll celebrate tonight,” Phillips said. “We still have an end goal to get the natty so I think we’ve still got to put in the work.”

Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow

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Shawn Medow

Shawn Medow

Shawn is an associate sports editor and reporter for the Emerald covering football, men's basketball, women's basketball, acrobatics and tumbling, track and field/cross-country and softball. He also hosts several podcasts, including a soccer podcast, on the Emerald Podcast Network. You can contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @ShawnMedow.