Gymnastics | State finals

Hannah Erwin steps up for Valparaiso's gymnastics team

2012-03-13T19:00:00Z 2012-03-14T03:15:45Z Hannah Erwin steps up for Valparaiso's gymnastics teamBy Jim Hunsley jim.hunsley@nwi.com, (219) 548-4356 nwitimes.com

Hannah Erwin watched the 2000 Sydney Olympics gymnastics competition on television and became more than a fan of the sport.

"I told my parents (Erin and Scott), 'I want to do that, that looks fun,'" Erwin said. "I just didn't think I would be in it for this long. I never thought I would get this far."

The Valparaiso junior has competed on one event at the last two state meets, helping the Vikings extend their record win streak to four straight. As the team tries for its fifth consecutive title Saturday at Ball State's Worthen Arena, Erwin has expanded her role to three events.

"Needless to say, she's stepped for us; she's been huge," Valparaiso coach Lorie Cook said of Erwin. "It's a tribute to her ability to focus more. She certainly has handled the pressure situation."

Erwin was third on bars (9.5) and second on floor (9.7) at the Valparaiso Regional. A week earlier, she was third on both bars (9.3) and floor (9.575) plus fifth on beam (9.325) at the Chesterton Sectional.

She was 32nd on bars (8.45) at state as a sophomore and 21st (8.95) as a freshman.

"I'm very thrilled and excited to be in this position," Erwin said. "I have just worked harder to get to this spot. I'm glad that I kept going. Gymnastics is a sport where you can push yourself. I said, 'I can do this,' and eventually I've ended up there."

Classmate Morgan Algozine might be the focal point of the squad as the team's lone all-around competitor, but she's made a point to thank her teammates the last two weeks.

"My teammates did so well," Algozine said after Friday's Valparaiso Regional. "I just went out with no pressure."

Erwin appreciated the sentiment.

"It makes me feel good; I feel like I'm doing my job," she said. "Going out and nailing a routine really helps the next person in line. They think, 'I'll nail this and do this for my team.'"

Even though Erwin is tripling her schedule for state, she doesn't feel the pressure.

"It definitely helps competing there before, I know what to expect," she said. "I'm going to warm up and go out and just do it the way I've practiced."

Erwin still has a year left in high school, and she hopes to expand her horizons a little more.

"The final goal is to be in all-around," Erwin said. "Hopefully I'll be able to do that."

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