Gymnastics team has national title in mind

Coming off its best season ever, the gymnastic team looks to finally capture a national championship.

The Warhawks won the WIAC conference title last season and took second at nationals for the second year in a row behind UW-La Crosse.

Junior Katie Thompson on the bar. The UW-Whitewater gymnastics team looks to finally win a national championship after placing second the last two seasons. Photo but Tim Gumz

“One strength our team has is how hard we work in pre-season and I expect that to really carry us through the regular and post season,” junior Mary Kate Young said. “Another strength is the leadership that our seniors have. They have been around the longest and really know how to motivate the team when we need it the most.”

At the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association Championship on March 26, the ’Hawks received five of the seven All-American honors awarded. UW-Whitewater finished second in the team competition.

“Being All-American is a feeling unlike any other,” senior Annie Mix said. “You work hard every day to try to be the best for the team, and then getting All-American on top of that is truly an honor and something worth striving for every year.”

Mix and Young received UW-Whitewater top individual finishes. Mix scored the eighth best uneven bars score in Whitewater’s records and Young scored third in the record book on floor.

Both women were also NCGA second team All-Americans in the 2010 championship.

Junior Katie Thompson became the second gymnast in UW-Whitewater history to earn four All-American honors in the same meet. She gave the ’Hawks three of the top ten finishers on vault, beam and bars. Thompson joins Justine Weyer, who became UW-Whitewater’s first four-time All-American in the 2010 NCGA meet. Thompson earned All-American honors in the all-around, on the uneven bars and balance beam in 2010.

“We’ve had a great pre-season and if we keep up the hard work, I think a national championship is definitely in the cards for us,” Mix said. “Every year we’ve gotten closer and closer and I really think this year is our year”

The team only lost two seniors at the end of the season, but Allison Nelson was the ’Hawks’ key departure. Nelson closed her career with a tie for eighth place at the NCGA on vault. She also earned All-American recognition in 2009 on vault with a sixth place finish.

Although the team lost a valuable senior, the team is still young and hopes to continue their quest for a national championship.

“We have some new freshmen with a lot of talent coming into our program this year,” Young said. “Between the new freshmen and returning members of the team, I definitely expect the team to really build off of what we accomplished last year and hopefully take it one step further.”