May 6, 2008
Get behind the scenes of Illinois Gymnastics with Illini Ink - the weekly women's gymnastics journal. In this week's edition, sophomore Nicole Cowart talks about her experience at the NCAA Championships in Athens, Georgia.
WOW! I think that pretty much sums up everything that I experienced at my first Nationals. Nationals exceeded the expectations I had going to Georgia. It was great to have a teammate to experience everything as well, but it was not the same without my whole team there. Being at Nationals made me realize how close our team is and how possible it is for us to be out on that competition floor next year with the other teams.
On Wednesday we had our practice session, where we met two young girls from North Carolina who asked for our autographs. Every time I get asked for an autograph, I am still flattered and amazed that these young girls look up to me just as I looked up to girls when I was their age. Thursday, Allison competed in the first session where she started on beam. Being a freshman and becoming a Second Team All-American amazes me and only shows me what she can accomplish in the next three years she is here. I competed in Session II, where I rotated with the University of Denver.
On Friday, Allison and I laid out by the pool with the beautiful Georgia sun beating down on us. We got bored very quickly and realized we had both gotten a bit burnt so decided to leave and get ready to watch the Super Six competition. The Super Six was absolutely amazing. I have never seen so much great gymnastics in such a short time span. Laura and I are quite nerdy and LOVE to watch all the other schools on youtube.com so it was exciting to be able to watch all of them in person without it being blurry on a computer screen! However, watching some of these teams made me realize that we have just as a good chance to be there as any of those other teams. It is only a matter of time before we are there. Then on Saturday, we watched individual event titles. It was eerily silent during some of the gymnasts' routines but most of them handled it like rock-stars!
All in all, Nationals was an experience of a lifetime. It made me realize how possible it is to get our team there next year, and how I know we will be there in due time and everyone will get the same feeling Allison and I felt walking out and representing the University of Illinois.
Thanks, and I can't wait to see you all next year!