In the final meet of the acrobatics and tumbling season, the No. 2 Oregon Ducks fell to No. 1 Baylor, 278.400-271.725 in the NCATA Championships Saturday evening at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. The loss marks the Ducks’ third loss to the Bears (12-0) this season and their fourth loss in the championship meet to the now five-straight NCATA Champions.
“I’m really impressed with how our girls executed and that we had a lot of fun,” Oregon head coach Keenyn Won said. “People thought we were nuts, but we were having the time of our lives just competing to the point where the scores didn’t matter.”
The Ducks, who end the season 7-3, did, however, take home hardware from the final day of NCATAs in the Individual Event Finals, including multiple individual event titles. Ducks were also awarded three All-Americans and earned the 2019 Louise Goodrum Academic Award.
After qualifying for 13 events, the Ducks took home four event titles. Oregon won the open pyramid event title with a near-perfect score of 9.925 thanks to the performance of Casi Jackson, Samantha Little, Caroline Matos, Calyx Hampton and Addie Lacewell. Oregon also took home the championship title in the synchronized pyramid, the open toss and the trio tumbling pass event.
Jackson, a senior, was awarded her second-career All-American honors with Payton Coon and Lacewell earning their firsts.
Additionally, junior top/base Hannah Esterman was named the 2019 Louise Goodrum Academic Award winner — marking the first time in program history that a Duck has earned the honors.
“These athletes pour their heart and soul into this sport and to see them get the honors is amazing,” Won said. “And it’s really nice knowing that we’ll be returning two out of three All-Americans next year as well.”
The Ducks put up a strong fight in the championships and didn’t allow Baylor to get more than a point ahead in the meet scores until the tumbling event. Yet, Oregon was unable to complete the upset due to two consequential falls in the second half of the meet.
Oregon put up the closest score to the Bears in the compulsory event, with Baylor winning the event with just 0.07 of a point more than the Ducks to open the meet, 37.675-37.600. In the acro and toss heats, the two teams posted heat scores with just 0.05 point differences.
The only event that Baylor swept was the acro event, winning 29.100-28.675.
Oregon won four heats in the meet: the tumbling heat in the compulsory event, the open pyramid heat, the open toss heat and the trio tumbling pass.
The Bears pulled away from the Ducks, 57.275-54.700, in the tumbling event due to winning five of the six heats and an Oregon fall in the quad heat.
Going into the final event, the Bears led with their biggest deficit in the meet scores of 182.550-179.175 over the Ducks.
The Ducks were unable to make any chance at a comeback after an athlete fell in during a toss in the team event. Baylor won the event 95.850-92.550 and secured the team its fifth straight Championship title.
“Obviously the loss hurts, but this program is on a climb,” Won said. “We have made so many improvements in not only skills set but also in our culture. We are excited to get back to work next season and get back here.”
Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter @maggie_vanoni