Illini gymnast Hamish Carter making the most of unique season

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Illinois gymnast Hamish Carter is ready to become one of the Big Ten’s best, and he will try to do so coming off the strangest year of his life as a gymnast. One where he was not able to go home to the West Midlands in the United Kingdom.

“I think there was travel bans back home to the UK so I didn’t have much of a choice,” says Carter, who is now in his junior year with the Illini.

Carter roomed over the summer with his other international teammates Josh Cook, also from the UK, and Clay Stephens, native of Adelaide, Australia, 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 pummel 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. Through the first week of this season, Carter has already won the College Gymnastics Association Gymnast of the Week.

It was a challenge from head coach Justin Spring after a 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,'” says Spring. “But I told him imagine if you had that type of day every day in practice, what would your meets look like. It was kind of this epiphany and then he turned into a monster in practice for the last two months. He’s been awesome.”

The Illini opened the season in the NCAA’s first virtual meet, and now have Big Ten opponents the rest of the way. Almost a year since the team last last competed, Carter is happy to be back on the mat.

“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.”

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