EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- UW-Eau Claire gymnastics had one of its best ever gymnasts end her career with an exceptional finish in the DIII National Championships. Blugold senior, Tori Erickson, is our Osseo Automotive Athlete of the Week.
And, she's the real deal.
“I finished 3rd all-around at nationals,” Erickson said of her finish in her final NCGA event.
Erickson is plastered in the record books at UW-Eau Claire, owning the top-4 all-around scores in school history. Her best was a 38.40 earlier this year at Seattle Pacific University. All that success had her named DIII West Region’s Gymnast of the Year.
Those achievements could be attributed to a different outlook on the sport.
“This year, I definitely found out how fun this sport is - what it means to truly love this sport," Erickson said. "I want them (her teammates) to know that it’s just for fun and you can just enjoy every moment no matter how well you’re doing. That took a lot of pressure off.”
Erickson was one of four DIII gymnasts who qualified for the NCAA DI regionals; all four happened to be from the WIAC.
“It was really intimidating. I was really overwhelmed, but I rotated with Kentucky, their gymnastics team, and they were really welcoming,” Erickson said.
It all started as a toddler for Erickson, and gymnastics has been a way of life for her ever since.
“I ended up deciding between dance and gymnastics,” Erickson said. “I think I saw the older girls doing some flips and I was like, ‘I think that’s what I want to be like.’ So, I stuck with gymnastics.”
Now that her collegiate career is over and she’s graduating in May, Erickson will be missed by her teammates in blue and gold. That feeling is mutual.
“I’m going to really miss the competition. I had a blast with it,” Erickson said. “It’s going to be a lot of free time without practice every day and competing. I’m going to miss the team aspect because there’s no other bond that I’ve created that’s as great as this team.”
Along with her teammates, head gymnastics coach, Jean DeLisle, was there from the beginning. DeLisle played an integral role in Erickson’s success.
“She was definitely one to care about you as a person before an athlete; that’s really made an impact on me and I think this team as well because we’ve learned to love the sport as well. I’m really thankful that she was here for my four years and that we could go out with a bang together,” Erickson said with a smile on her face of DeLisle.
After graduation, Erickson hopes to become a nurse in Woodbury.