Nicole Cowart (left) and Allison Buckley represented the Illini well at the NCAA Championships.
May 14, 2008
Get behind the scenes of Illinois Gymnastics with Illini Ink - the weekly women's gymnastics journal. In this season's final edition, freshman Allison Buckley talks about her experience at the NCAA Championships in Athens, Georgia.
Wow! I agree with Suki (Nicole Cowart). She did a pretty good job summing up our experience at Nationals a few weeks ago HERE. The gymnastics was amazing, the atmosphere was incredible, and I can't wait to bring everybody there next year. Being there on that competition floor is definitely a huge motivator to work hard this summer and perfect the skills we have, and of course learn some new ones. Our team is definitely capable of competing at Nationals next year!
Our experience the week of Nationals was so awesome! On Wednesday both Suki and I had a practice session. Unfortunately we did not get to be together however, but we both had wonderful teams that took us under their wings. My practice session was first and I was with the University of Alabama. We began practice on beam, and let me tell you I was a nervous wreck. I was so overwhelmed by the atmosphere it was hard for me to focus on anything. Eventually I calmed down and was able to gain some control. After my practice we were able to get some food and then we headed back for Suki's practice.
On Thursday it was competition day. Again Suki and I were unable to be together, but we were there to cheer each other on. I started on beam in the first session. I thought that starting on beam would be a good thing for me, and I guess I was right. I hit my beam routine and made 2nd team All America. It is a huge accomplishment and honor! Suki started on vault in the second session. She moved event to event and hit each one. To hit all four events at such a big meet is a great deal. To say the least, we both had great meets and a great first Nationals experience. I know we'll be even more prepared next year!
For the rest of the trip Suki and I got to enjoy our time a little bit. We definitely soaked up the sun on Friday before the Super Six competition. I also had some time to spend shopping with my sister! There was a nice little downtown area where there were tons of little shops and restaurants to walk around and visit.
Although enjoying some free time was nice, I would say that Super Six and Event Finals were just as fun. The teams kept it interesting and exciting to watch. Everyone did so well with Georgia finishing on top. It was probably one of the best gymnastics meets I've seen/been to in my life. And Suki is right, it's possible for our team to be there next year!
Thanks for reading and have a safe and exciting summer! : ) I can't wait to see you all next year.