University of Illinois-Chicago gymnast Kayla Baddeley won the USA Gymnastics title in vault and landed a second place in the all-around this weekend in New York.
However, the big victory is bittersweet for Baddeley as it will be her final season with UIC. The men's and women's gymnastics programs, which are very successful, have been cut.
"There's been a lot of crying," Baddeley said Tuesday from New York. "It was really upsetting but we weren't going to let it affect us. Now that the season is over, I feel like it's going to be sad. I don't think it's hit me yet that it's going to be over. It definitely hasn't."
For Baddeley, gymnastics has opened up academic opportunities.
"I knew when I was younger I wanted to go to college for gymnastics," she said. "I lived with my grandparents because my mom passed away when I was 4. And my dad passed away when I was 12. So my grandmother was taking care of me ever since. And so I needed a scholarship to go to college, so I knew I would have to work hard at gymnastics to be able to get a scholarship and be able to go to college."
Baddeley has been doing gymnastics since she was 4 years old.
"I think it's really going to be different," she said. "I don't know how to function without gymnastics to be honest with you. Like if you had a bad day and I would go to the gym and just forget about it. Like it's going to be hard but I guess I'll get used to it."