Senior Lindsay Hatcher places first in balance beam at Nationals

By Rachel Lang

Next time you glimpse senior Lindsay Hatcher in the hallway, make sure to congratulate America’s new national beam champion.

Hatcher, a University of Florida recruit, competed all-around at Level Nine Eastern Nationals May 8 and returned triumphant with a gold medal in the balance beam.

Nationals, held in Massachusetts, is the highest competition that gymnasts at Hatcher’s level can qualify for.  Those who place in the top six at their respective regional championship meet acquire the sought-after invite.

Though Hatcher may have seemed destined to end up at Nationals, it almost didn’t happen. Five days before her regional meet, she injured her toe at practice. Entering the must-win situation with five stitches on her toe was not exactly reassuring for Hatcher, but she managed to succeed. Placing fourth all-around at Regionals, Hatcher learned that she would be making the trip to Nationals.

At Nationals, she performed vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise, placing on the beam.

Her beam routine received a score of 9.2, catapulting her into first place. Although that was the only event in which she placed, her next highest score was an 8.75 in vault.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Hatcher said. “It was a dream that I was even at Nationals, let alone winning an event.”