Allie Gilchrist is a Hawkeye gymnast specializing on the balance beam and floor exercises. The junior accounting student has a 4.11 GPA, which has earned her a spot as a 2020 Academic All-Big Ten and a Distinguished Big Ten Scholar. We caught up with her to ask about life in the classroom and Carver-Hawkeye arena.
How did you choose to come to Iowa?
I was born into a Hawkeye family and grew up in Norwalk, Iowa. My parents Mike Gilchrist (BSE91/JD95) and Deb King (BBA92/JD95) both came here for undergrad and law school, and my sister, Camryn, is a freshman at Iowa this fall. My uncle lives five minutes from Kinnick, so growing up we came to a lot of football games and gymnastics meets. I’ve always wanted to be part of the Iowa team, but I also made my decision based on where I would want to be if I wasn’t in gymnastics.
What did it feel like to step into Carver to compete that first time as a Hawkeye?
It was almost unreal because I’d been to Carver so many times, but it was always from the stands. Warming up and stretching, I looked up and saw the giant Tigerhawk under the jumbotron—I was just in awe that I was actually doing it.
Do you see any parallels in accounting and gymnastics?
I see them both as precise. In accounting there is a right and a wrong way. That’s one thing I like about it—there’s a way to solve the problem and once you get there, you know how to do it again. I see that in gymnastics as well. Both also require a lot of repetition. The more times I do something, the more confident I feel and the better I perform in both areas of my life. I do feel gymnastics can be a little bit more creative because you can make up your routines, but at the end of the day, you’re scored out of a 10.
COVID-19 must have thrown your spring 2020 semester off. How did you navigate it?
Spring semester was honestly pretty crazy. It started out very busy. Gymnastics is a spring sport and it was my first semester taking “real” accounting classes. Then our season got cancelled right before we went to Big Ten Championships, which was disappointing. As far as academics go, student athletes always have to be on top of our coursework, and I think that helped me with the transition to online schooling.
We’re all feeling pretty down on 2020. Has the year held any positives for you?
As far as the season goes, my favorite moment was beating Iowa State. It was in Ames and we were the underdogs, so it was an exciting day. Being close to home, I also had a lot of extended family and friends there.
I’d say one of the other best parts of 2020 was being able to spend some time at home. It came off the worst moment, but it was nice to be able to go home and be with my family because we never thought that the four of us would all be together again for that long.
What is going through your mind in this picture? (see above)
I’m about to start my series on the beam. Our team, we always have cues we say to ourselves in our heads—whether a correction or an affirmation word. So during this pose, I’m telling myself my cue, which is “Calm, cool, collected.”
This article first appeared in the 2020 issue of Iowa Ledger.