Huntley senior Aubrie Purtell’s first college choice would have been Michigan, although she knew that also would have ended her gymnastics career.
“I’ve always dreamed of Michigan, but I know my caliber or gymnastics wasn’t that high,” Purtell said.
So when Michigan’s physical therapy program had reached its maximum number of students, Purtell was not all that disappointed. That opened the option of staying with gymnastics as a way to get some of her college expenses covered.
Purtell accepted a scholarship offer from Northern Illinois last week and will attend the DeKalb school in the fall, where she will study in the physical therapy program.
“It was meant to be,” she said. “It worked out for the best. Gymnastics is my passion.”
Purtell trains and competes for Crystal Lake Gymnastics Training Center and will go to the U.S. Junior Olympic Eastern Gymnastics Championships in two weeks in Jackson, Miss. She is competing at Level 10 for the first time.
Lisa Rumford, one of the coaches at CLGTC, said Purtell was a Level 9 Eastern Nationals vault champion last year before moving to Level 10 this year. Purtell does not compete on a high school team.
“No one’s more deserving [of a scholarship] than Aubrie,” Rumford said. “No one. She works harder than anyone in our gym.”