CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois Men’s Gymnastics competed at the National Championship last weekend, finishing sixth in the country. Junior Hamish Carter was back in the rotation, bouncing back from an injury that kept him out of the Big Ten Tournament. It’s been a long road for the United Kingdom native who wasn’t able to go home this summer, and has been in Champaign since the pandemic hit.

“I think there were travel bans back home to the UK so I didn’t have much of a choice,” says Carter.

Carter decided to room over the summer with his other international teammates Josh Cook and Clay Stephens to ride out the pandemic. The three were stuck with only a pommel horse to work out with.

“We were doing some home workouts in my apartment with the pommel horse and weights,” says Carter. “It was really like that for a while, I think it must have been two months or so we didn’t do anything besides conditioning or pommel horse.”

Carter was named the Big Ten High Bar Champion and an NCAA High Bar All-American his freshman season. Last year, he was a two-time Big Ten Gymnast of the week before the season was canceled. It was a challenge from head coach Justin Spring after scrimmage that helped him get to this point.

“He kind of took it the wrong way like, ‘Why are you getting on me I had a great meet.’ But I told him imagine if you had that type of day every day in practice, what would your meets look like,” said Spring. “It was kind of this epiphany, and then he turned into a monster in practice for the last two months. He’s been awesome.”

“It makes it all the more better now that we’re doing some gymnastics again,” says Carter. “We’ve come a long way, that’s for sure.”

Carter finished the 2020-21 season without a chance to defend his Big Ten high bar championship, but claimed five event titles, and scored a career-high on the pommel horse, parallel bars, and all-around.