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The Daily Tar Heel

Wilson Continues to Strive For All-Around Excellence

Owner of all but one all-time Tar Heel gymnastics marks, Wilson has come full circle since arriving in Chapel Hill.

It began in winter of 1998, when Wilson was a senior in high school.

North Carolina gymnastics coach Derek Galvin first bore witness to Wilson's potential during a visit to Sumter, S.C.

"During the recruiting process, I went to watch Brooke train," Galvin said. "As soon as I watched her interact with her teammates and club team, I knew she was a special person, very coachable."

Soon after her commitment to UNC, the Tar Heel record books would forever be altered.

In her final campaign, the all-around performer remains the smiling face that Galvin initially recruited, the same spark plug that upped the bar for her teammates and North Carolina's program.

Wilson continues to employ an admirable work ethic even after becoming one of the nation's top gymnasts.

"The way I look to do gymnastics is I like to come in as the underdog," Wilson said. "So now that I'm not so much of an underdog anymore, I want to make sure I live up to my expectations and do the best I possible can."

And her expectations are high.

Since her arrival in Chapel Hill, Wilson has had a knack of superceding her past successes.

During her sophomore year Wilson claimed seven consecutive all-around titles en route to her proudest individual moment. She finished first in the Eastern Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Championships in beam and all-around. Wilson set North Carolina's beam record on March 27 with a score of 9.950.

Wilson compounded her efforts in 2000 and became the co-EAGL gymnast of the year, setting school records on bars (9.925), floor (9.975), and all-around (39.425). She set her records for bars and the floor on the same day, March 3.

With all but the vault record in her name, Wilson said there are still aspects in her performance that can be improved.

"There are things I want to accomplish on certain events, skills that I want to make," Wilson said. "There is this vault I worked through all of last year and never hit, so I want to hit that vault this year."

In addition to her athletic achievement, Wilson reaches out into the community, ranging from her involvement with ACC Outreach as a co-coordinator, Athletes Coming Together as a mentor to freshman athletes and as a volunteer at a local elementary school.

"Being an athlete, you don't think much about it, but little kids do look up to you a lot more than you realize," Wilson said. "A lot of people see (service) as an obligation. It's an opportunity as an athlete, and it's kind of special."

As the lone senior on a youthful 2001 squad, Wilson holds the reins of leadership. But as her teammates note, it's not 'Do as I Say', it's 'Do as I Do.'

"I think she leads in every aspect of being a leader," junior Lisa Companioni said. "You definitely feel like you have a say, which is really important for a team to be cohesive rather than just being a hierarchy."

Now, at the culmination of her career, Wilson leaves her mark as arguably the finest Tar Heel gymnast ever, a career that future gymnasts will look to match.

"I think she has prepared us really well," junior Monica Middleton said. "We have been with her now for three years now, and she has set a great example."

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The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.