Unlike many sports programs on campus, the gymnastics team is loaded with athletes from states other than Wisconsin.
This year’s class of freshman gymnasts is no different. All five of them are from out of state.
These athletes include Cami Gilman (Lees Summit, Mo.), Jen McKiernan (Tinley Park, Ill.), Ashlee Perkins (Piperton, Tenn.), Cici Talcott (Kentwood, Mich.) and Alexis Williams (Marietta, Ga.).
While none of these girls are from states on either coast of the country, some of them come from southern states. They don’t have any complaints about the campus itself, but a couple of them certainly miss the warm weather back home.
“I really like the size of the school, and I think the campus is beautiful,” Williams said. “Coming from Georgia, I am not a fan of the cold weather up here.”
Perkins agreed that she doesn’t like the cold weather and said everyone has been really friendly on campus.
It is quite obvious that many students do not choose UW-Whitewater because of its cold weather, and the size of the campus doesn’t always appeal to students. For many athletes, it is about the love for their sport and comfort within a program.
“I wanted a school that had gymnastics but was not extremely far from Missouri,” Gilman said. “And I really like coach Jen, she made my decision easy.”
Talcott not only loved the people at UW-Whitewater, but many more things as well.
The fact that the Warhawks have been competitive in recent years, finishing runner-up at Nationals the past two years to No. 1 ranked UW-Lacrosse, has led to the arrival of some talented young gymnasts.
“I’ve been very grateful to have been surrounded by great athletes throughout my gymnastics career,” Talcott said. “ I was blessed to be able to train at the best gym in Michigan. Luckily, that prepared me to be at this team’s level here at UW-Whitewater.”
While most of the freshmen have been around talented gymnastics teams growing up, that was not the case for McKiernan.
“My club team hasn’t had enough girls on it to even get a team score for a while so it’s really cool to be able to be on a team as talented as this one.” McKiernan said.
The gymnasts are off to an undefeated start through the first four meets. Most of the freshmen have yet to contribute to the success of this year’s team, but Talcott is the exception.
In the last meet against Winona State, Talcott finished first on the uneven bars with a score of 9.25 and first in the floor exercise with a score of 9.425. She also helped rewrite the record book as part of the team that has the 30th best vault score in school history at 46.40.
Against the defending National Champions on Jan. 21, Talcott finished tied for first place on the floor with junior teammate Siri Wischmann with a score of 9.450.
Talcott’s early success has helped lead the team to early victories and maybe a shot at a national title.
“That is definitely our goal and we are all working hard to accomplish that,” Talcott said.