NCAA Championship Blog - Niki Tom

April 17, 2009

NCAA Championship Central will provide exclusive access to the UCLA Gymnastics team as it competes this week at the NCAA Championships in Lincoln, NE. This is the third student-athlete blog from the Championships, written by sophomore Niki Tom after the Super Six team finals.

Hey everyone,

The past few days have been filled with an array of emotions - from pure excitement and determination to devastation. Although this NCAA Championship did not have the outcome we have all longed and trained for, the year as a whole has been unbelievable. Last night after the meet, we were all crushed with the results, but our amazing coaches, families and friends all reminded us that all of the accomplishments we have achieved as a team outweigh all of the less enjoyable times. We have grown tremendously as a team each and every day, in and out of the gym, and have united to be our best. From day one, each and every one of us has been 100% bought in and taken on any given challenge with alacrity. The trust we have in one another is exceptional and cannot be found easily.

Tonight, we sat in the stands to watch Super Six. Yes, there is no doubt that it was extremely difficult to be in the spectator's position rather than being the competitor. I know that I, along with all of the other girls, wished we could be amongst those six teams competing for the title. But I have always been taught to not dwell on the past and to look forward optimistically. Something can always be learned from any given situation. We all knew that if we could not be out on the floor, we would use tonight as a learning experience and allow it to drive us to never let this happen again. The level of gymnastics tonight was impeccable, and all six teams put on an amazing performance.

As our fellow Western Region team, we were pulling for Utah till the end. Cheering for past teammates, other competitors, and witnessing unbelievable gymnastics has allowed us to embrace as much of this Championship experience as possible. From the entire UCLA family, we congratulate every competitor/team. And to Georgia, congratulations for an incredible season and finish in your fifth Championship win. Lastly, it was great to see three Bruins awarded for the individual all-around. Zam, Ari, and Elyse have had a wonderful season, and it was great to see them rewarded for everything they do for our team. The moment the three Bruins took the podium, our Bruin spirits were lifted even higher, and the arena seemed to fill with blue and gold.

Life is too short to waste a day focusing on the past; next season officially started today for us BRUINS, and we are all ready to do whatever it takes to reach the top. Ari, I cannot explain how much you will be missed. What you have contributed to this team is irreplaceable, and we all aspire to fill your shoes to the best of our ability.

Tomorrow is the final day of competition (individual event finals) and we are going out with a BANG! Thank you to all of our fans for supporting us unconditionally. This is only the beginning of a new era for UCLA Gymnastics! We gave it our all every moment we have been here in Nebraska. And I can proudly say that we will leave this Championship with NO REGRETS.

Love & Smiles,
NiKi ('Ki-tommy')

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