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Redbird Gymnasts face MIC competitor SEMO on Friday

Written by on March 1, 2023

Image courtesy of ISU Athletics

NORMAL, Ill. – The Redbirds are looking for a win against SEMO this week, as they hit the road Friday to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. 

Illinois State is coming off a second-place finish from last weekend’s quad meet in New Hampshire. The Redbirds ended the night with a score of 195.600, just under New Hampshire’s 196.550. Pittsburgh took third with a 194.875, leaving Southern Connecticut State’s 193.400 in last. 

Freshman Nirel Bart-Williams grabbed first place all-around with a career-high score of 39.225. Sophomore Jaye Mack took home the floor title with a 9.925 while holding the MIC Performance of the Week award. 

As for firsts, junior Reagan Hestermann stepped out on the floor for the first time in her career this season. 

Hestermann’s exhibition floor routine did not count toward the total score, but her performance spoke louder than any number could. 

“I was extremely nervous before the routine because I hadn’t competed in two and a half, three years. The nerves were really getting to me,” Hestermann said. “But after the routine, I felt so loved. Everyone was around me and I have never felt that kind of thing before. I actually felt like I was a part of the team.” 

Hestermann has continued to battle injuries for her entire collegiate career, resulting in undergoing three surgeries in three years. 

“I felt like giving up all the time. I wanted to quit all the time,” Hestermann said. “I was honestly really proud of myself. I have been working so hard for so long and I felt like I couldn’t catch a break for so long. And then, it finally happened for me.” 

Overcoming obstacle after obstacle, Hestermann said that it took everything in her to stay motivated and keep her love for the sport. 

“I didn’t think I would be able to come back and it has just been a long time in the making,” Hestermann said. “I just want to make younger Reagan proud.”