Former Dragon is a Back-to-Back National Champion
Jul 13, 2016 07:38AM
● By Audrey Sellers
Former Dragon and Lady Bear, Kelci Ortiz, has a big reason to jump for joy: She’s a back-to-back national champion in acrobatics and tumbling (A&T), and she just graduated from Baylor University to boot.
Ortiz quickly soared to new heights as a member of Baylor’s A&T team, although she didn’t immediately grasp the time commitment and dedication necessary to excel at the sport. A&T combines gymnastics and competitive cheer where the athletes compete in individual and team events.
“I knew I was going into a collegiate sport, but I didn’t understand the dedication of both time and the physicality of the sport,” says Ortiz.
Over the course of a season, Baylor competes in 10 meets over the country. The top teams go to Nationals, and over the course of four days, compete in quarterfinals and semifinals. The last two teams compete for the title of National Champions. Event finals also take place where individual events are held at Nationals. Ortiz competed in two of the Event Finals and won both for a record four National titles.
For the past two years, Baylor and rival Oregon have gone head to head in the finals. Like last year, Baylor beat Oregon in the finals to win a second consecutive championship.
Coach Felecia Mulkey and her coaching staff have developed the A&T team into a national powerhouse where more than 35 lady athletes take their skill set into a sport that is gaining national attention.
“I can’t believe it’s over,” says Ortiz. “These four years have flown by. I want to thank Baylor University for all they’ve done for me. It’s been an honor to attend the university. I will always be a Baylor Bear!”