This article was originally published on ZU News.
The acro and tumbling team lost their first meet of the season against Baylor by a score of 278.825-286.035. Despite a strong performance in the acro, pyramid and toss events, the Cougars efforts weren’t enough to overcome their NCAA Division I opponent, who posted the highest score of the season.
“Overall, the meet was going really well, up until tumbling heats. We kind of stayed with them throughout the compulsories, even though they were a little rough. Overall we stuck with them through the toss heat. It was the best toss heat round that we’ve ever had. We probably also had our best acro heats overall score. We were within .4 points going into tumbling and we felt pretty confident in our tumbling,” head coach Collen Kausrud said. “Unfortunately our quad pass got nailed with a penalty that we don’t feel is correct, but we have to go with it. We got hit hard on that and that affected the score. The team event wasn’t what it should have been as far as our performance. We have to be perfect if we’re going to beat Baylor, and that’s what it boils down to.”
The Cougars weren’t perfect, but they did score one perfect 10 in the pyramid.
“Hanna [Steffen] did a good job in that one. It was awesome to get a 10 in a tough pyramid,” Kausrud said.
Senior top Hanna Steffen helped the Cougars score the perfect 10. She said that even though the team lost, she had a lot of fun at the meet.
“It was a really fun meet. We just tried to have fun and work as a team. I really liked the dynamic we had there. I felt less pressure because we were zoned in as a team,” Steffen said. “The competition wasn’t too far apart in the first half, but we kind of fell apart a little bit when we came to tumbling.”
Steffen agreed with Kausrud that there was a mistake in the call in the quad pass event.
“They said that one of our girls did a cartwheel instead of a round off in the quad pass, but she actually did do a round off. Someone said they had a replay video, but the judges said they couldn’t look back in the video to change the scores. That was frustrating since they literally had the replay,” Steffen said.
Kausrud expressed that some of the team’s results were a bit disappointing. They had the expectation that they could beat Baylor going in.
“We watch Baylor all season, knowing that we were going to see them toward the end of the season. We felt like they were beatable,” Kausrud said. “We felt like they weren’t at the top of their game at the beginning of the season, but Baylor has cleaned it up and we have to as well if we think we can beat them in championships, if we get that far.”
One positive Kausrud took away from the event was the performance of freshmen top Katrina Gonzalez.
“Katrina had a really good toss, scoring that 10. She’s kind of a standout freshmen. We’re really excited for that, to implement that into our team event to raise our start value. She deserves some recognition,” Kausrud said.
Even with the loss, Gonzalez felt confident of her performance and was proud of the way that the team performed.
“Personally, I think that the meet went really well and It was definitely one of our best away meets that we have had this season,” Gonzalez said. “Regarding the toss, I was excited to compete with the new kick double at the Baylor meet. It’s a 10.0 start value that would benefit our team score with an extra four-tenths of a point. I felt confident in the toss because I knew that if I executed like I practiced, we could score well.”
Gonzalez said that going into the meet, she was nervous to face Baylor, the number one team in the country.
“I was very nervous coming into this meet especially because Baylor is one of the best acro and tumbling schools we have faced thus far. Competing away with their numerous fans felt very intimidating at first and it was different than our usual home meets,” Gonzalez said. “But, the adrenaline from the meet and the energy from my teammates made all my nerves go away making me more excited about the skills we’d be competing with.”
Gonzalez said she is not nervous for the Cougars last meet of the season on April 13 against Converse at home.
“I feel very prepared coming into our last meet because we have made consistent progress throughout the season. I think that we’re gonna use the next meet as a preparation for nationals and I’m excited to compete at home for our last meet against Converse University,” Gonzalez said.
Steffen said she is also excited for this final meet.
“I’m looking forward to competing with the team one last time. This is going to be the last time I do this, so I really just want to enjoy it with my teammates,” Steffen said. “By far, this is the best year. We’re all such a tight knit group, we trust each other and work really well together. Seniors don’t dominate freshmen. It’s a healthy balance.”
Kausrud said the team has some things they need to work on before this meet.
“It’s a home meet, senior night. It builds the girls confidence when they have the crowd behind them. It’s hard when it’s one sided. I’m looking forward to this home meet, having the energy there, getting them ready for championships,” Kausrud said. “We have to up our start value for championships, just really cleaning everything up and feeling confident in what we’re doing. That’s what we’ll be doing the next few weeks.”