Epitome of Determination: U-M Gymnast Trish Wilson

Submitted by Raoul on April 1st, 2011 at 8:54 AM

In advance of the NCAA Regional that the Michigan women's gymnastics squad is hosting at Crisler on Saturday, annarbor.com ran a profile of senior tri-captain Trish Wilson, who deserves some special attention heading into her final appearance at Crisler given that:

Wilson has torn her anterior cruciate ligament four times and had six knee surgeries since her days at Nequa Valley High School in Naperville, Ill.

Her fourth torn ACL, and the third on her right knee, came just before her junior year, and she sat out that entire season. According to a profile in the winter 2011 edition of M Magazine, Wilson had initially decided not to return to competition during her senior year but eventually changed her mind. She returned for the fifth meet of the 2011 season, competing only on the uneven bars. Amazingly enough, after all those surgeries, she won her event twice this year and matched her career high of 9.925 in the tri-meet against Nebraska and powerhouse Stanford.

Outside the gym, Wilson has also excelled, earning Academic All-Big Ten honors in both 2010 and 2011. From the annarbor.com story:

A senior in the Ross School of Business, Wilson already has a job in waiting for her in Chicago after graduation. Through the pain and recovery, gymnastics has been her escape from school and other stress.

“Gymnastics is actually my getaway. It’s so much fun to go to practice and be with my team,” she said. “That’s where I go to get away from all the stress in my life. It keeps me going. It allows me to have fun. I would not look back for a second.

“Once I made the decision to stay with the team this year, there were no regrets.”

Late addition: Bev Plocki, the women's gymnastics coach, was interviewed on WTKA's Michigan Insider this morning, and she talked at length about Trish Wilson. The podcast can be found here.


Mitch Cumstein

April 1st, 2011 at 8:57 AM ^

Quite impressive.  Especially the last academic related portion.  A true student-athlete role model.  Makes me proud to be a Wolverine.  We're proud of you Trish!


April 1st, 2011 at 9:04 AM ^

This is a great story, even if she won't be walking without assistance in about 5 years. That's an incredible amount or trauma over 5+ years to take, especially with one knee apparently taking the brunt of the damage. But to come back from all of that and still perform at such a high level takes a lot of guts.


April 1st, 2011 at 9:47 AM ^

She is a testament to her sport, and it is no surprise.  My daughter (albeit much much younger than college age) has been a gymnast for 4 years and through meets I have been around gymnasts up to high school age.  If you've never been exposed closely to the sport, as I hadn't been before all this, you quickly discovery that GYMNASTS ARE TOUGH AS NAILS.  Even the little 7-year old, 40-pound gymnasts (who go out and win 1st place over 13yr olds).  Pain doesn't bother them, in 4 years I've never seen a gymnast cry at a meet after a spill or fall.  Their focus is UNBELIEVABLE.  Doing cartwheels -- backwards -- on a balance beam, 4 feet in the air, while being judged by strangers, wearing next to nothing, while the gym is FILLED with noise (other events, cheering, music from someone's floor routine, etc.).  Total concentration.  And no lip, no smack talk, it's not the etiquette.  Just go out, quietly, do your thing, whack it, "present," and get back to your team.

There is a gymnastics apparrel company that has a popular slogan, on shirts etc.:  "IF GYMNASTICS WERE EASY, IT WOULD BE CALLED FOOTBALL."



April 1st, 2011 at 11:59 AM ^

Wow, she graduated high school with a lot of my really good friends. Good to see her doing so well, despite AGHG having a Purdue level of dislike for her ACL.