Boise State senior gymnast Erin Wippermann spent three and a half years rehabbing a nasty knee injury, rebuilding her skills and training for what could be less than 3 minutes of competition this season
On Friday night at Taco Bell Arena, it looked like Wippermann and the Broncos will reap the benefits of her dedication.
Wippermann posted a career-high 9.825 to win the bars event in the season-opening dual against Utah State on her 22nd birthday, no less. The approximately 13-second performance was just the fourth competitive routine of her college career and it produced her first win. She trains beam, but its possible shell be a bars specialist all season.
Its kind of crazy to spend 3-4 hours in the gym every day for that one routine, she said, but its worth it in the long run.
The Broncos won four of five individual titles to score 194.875 a school record for a season opener. Utah State was never close, scoring 191.25.
Boise State co-coach Neil Resnick sensed a big number was coming 195-plus until moments before the meet began.
As we warmed up, I started to see the first-meet jitters and saw some funny behavior and kind of went to, Hey, 194.5 would be good, he said.
We achieved our goal the first meet of the season.
Senior Brittany Potvin-Green, the expected star of this year's team, won floor with a meet-high 9.85, vault with a 9.825 and the all-around with a 38.875.
She twisted an ankle a week and a half ago and Resnick wasnt sure shed be ready for floor, where she delivered her best performance of the night. Resnick questioned Potvin-Green in the days leading up to the opener.
Ill get it done, coach, she told him.
Wippermann could provide a key complementary piece to a lineup that is filled mostly by five standouts. She tore an anterior cruciate ligament as a high school senior and faced complications during her recovery.
She spent her first year as a walk-on with the Broncos just trying to get healthy. She spent the second year preparing to compete. She made the lineup just twice last year performing once on bars and twice on beam.
Her bars routine has been built almost entirely at Boise State, Resnick said another unusual challenge Wippermann has overcome.
Its a great story, Resnick said. She comes to Boise State virtually not walking. She stayed and fought through it.