Senior Danye Botterman
Dec. 13, 2006
Get behind the scenes of Illinois Gymnastics with Illini Ink - the weekly women's gymnastics journal. This week, senior Danye Botterman talks about how the senior apartment is the place to be, the mixed pairs meet and expectations for the team this year.
It's final's week here at Illinois. The last week before all of us gets to go home and spend Christmas or Hanukah with our families. All the girls are studying hard and locking themselves in their rooms or Irwin, our student-athlete academic center. It's kind of sad because I am not seeing much of anyone. I only have one speech left to give, so unlike my teammates, I am pretty much done for the semester.
As a senior with an apartment, it's very normal to have at least half the team over at any time of the day. I live with the other two seniors on the team, Cara Pomeroy and Mel Singer. We open our apartment up to any of our teammates who want a little break from the dorms for a day! Usually, we'll hang out in the living room, talk, watch movies, and make dinner sometimes. The last time the girls came over we made snow flakes to hang around our apartment to celebrate the Christmas season.
Even though it is finals week, spirits are high in the gym. Everyone is excited to go home, but more importantly everyone is excited for season to start. Our first exhibition meet, Mixed Pairs, was Friday, December 8th. Basically it's a fun meet in which each girl teams up with a member of the men's gymnastics team. It's a competition amongst the pairs, letting the best pair win. The fun part is that our judges are other Illini athletes from all different teams and kids from the surrounding elementary schools. You never know what score they're going to give (some of them don't know too much about gymnastics).
Another fun part is that you exchange gifts with your partner. My partner was Chad Weist. He bought me a wonderful new Illinois hoodie and some beautiful flowers! Minus a few beginning of the year mistakes, the meet went well. It was nice to be put in pressure situations and be able to get all the little kinks and quirks out before season actually starts.
After the meet, as a team we talked about what we need to do in order to be ready for season. These next few weeks of practice are going to be intense. We will have to work as hard as we can to get to where we want to be by January 12th. Some of the things we are going to focus on especially are being more consistent in pressure situations, handstands on bars, and having clean landings. Other than that, our team looks better than any other team I have been part of for the last four years. As a senior, I have gotten the chance to see this team progress into something I never knew it could be. We have amazing talent on our team, we have extremely hard workers, and we have the heart. It's the perfect combination to win. And win we will. So all those fans out there, get ready to see this Illinois Gymnastics team kick some butt on January 12th at Mizzou. Our team goal is to make Nationals this year, so come out and support us!
Have a happy holiday everyone!