A national title and 2 Big 12 titles already this spring for Baylor — and the year’s not over yet
While it feels like we just barely turned the calendar over to 2017, in actuality, the spring semester is done, and with it, Baylor’s spring sports are drawing to a close. With two Big 12 titles (women’s indoor track, equestrian), one national title (acrobatics and tumbling), and nine spring sports currently in the top 25, here’s a quick rundown of some of the season’s highlights:
As previously noted, acrobatics and tumbling won its third straight national title, the first Baylor varsity program to win back-to-back-to-back national championships. Head coach Felecia Mulkey has been at the helm for all three titles; in fact, Mulkey has won seven straight championships, dating back to her time at Oregon.
Thanks to his role in leading Baylor baseball to its best season in at least five years, second-year head coach Steve Rodriguez was named Big 12 Coach of the Year. The Bears began Big 12 tournament play this morning, and on Monday will learn their postseason destination as they look to be headed back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012.
Baylor equestrian won its third Big 12 title in eight years under head coach Ellen White. The Bears ranked No. 1 in the nation for much of the season before being upset in the quarterfinals of the NCEA championships.
Ranked No. 5 in the nation, head coach Mike McGraw’s men’s golf team has a chance to cement this season as the best in program history when the NCAA Championships begin Friday. The team has already earned its first No. 1 ranking, claimed the No. 1 seed at the Big 12 championships, earned the program’s 20th straight NCAA postseason selection, and won the NCAA Stanford Regional to advance to the NCAA Championships for the seventh time in program history.
The Baylor women’s golf team finished in the top eight at the NCAA Championships for the second time in three years, falling 4-3 in match play to No. 1-ranked Stanford on Tuesday. Sophomore Dylan Kim won the Big 12 women’s golf individual title, and head coach Jay Goble’s Lady Bears reached the NCAA postseason for the 5th time in 6 years.
Head coach Glenn Moore’s softball team finished second in the Big 12 and earned the right to host NCAA regional action for the first time since 2014. The 13th-ranked Lady Bears took advantage, as sophomore Gia Rodoni pitched back-to-back no-hitters to help Baylor advance to this weekend’s Super Regional at No. 2 Arizona.
Baylor men’s tennis earned the right to host NCAA first- and second-round matches for the 12th time in 15 years, and used that boost to advance to the Round of 16 for the 15th time in 16 years under head coach Matt Knoll. The Bears finished the year ranked No. 9 in the nation.
The women’s tennis team, led by head coach Joey Scrivano, also hosted NCAA opening weekend matches, though the Lady Bears were upset 4-3 in the second round by Texas A&M — the team’s first home loss of the season. Baylor finished the season ranked 17th in the country.
During the indoor track and field season, the Baylor women won their first-ever Big 12 title and finished 14th at the NCAA championships as Todd Harbour was named Big 12 women’s indoor coach of the year. Sprinter Maxwell Willis swept Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors for both the indoor and outdoor seasons. In advance of next month’s NCAA outdoor championships, the Baylor women and men are currently ranked 10th and 17th, respectively.
And Baylor’s varsity sports weren’t the only successful ones… A Baylor intramural women’s basketball team won the NIRSA regional title in March and advanced to the NIRSA National Intramural Basketball Tournament held at Ohio State in April — the first time a Baylor intramural team has ever reached the NIRSA national tournament! The team was coached by Geoffrey Griggs, assistant director of multicultural affairs, and Ryan Reed, financial manager for the Honors College; tryouts for next year’s team will be held this fall.
Sic ’em, Baylor spring sports!