Talkin’ Illini: Hannah Welker

Hannah Welker Former Illini gymnast Hannah Welker. (Image courtesy of UI Athletics)
Former Illini gymnast Hannah Welker, ’12 MEDIA, is a feature morning reporter for ABC affiliate 13WHAM and FOX Rochester, N.Y.

What’s your typical day like?
One day I can be in a hot air balloon, another day I can jump into Lake Ontario for the Polar Plunge, the next I can dive off a diving board. Typically, I wake up at 3:30 in the morning. College morning workouts would be nothing for me today [laughs].

How did being an Illinois student-athlete help get you where you are today?
I wouldn’t be the person I am today without gymnastics or college athletics. Being a student-athlete teaches you about work ethic, time management and how to go after goals no matter what happens. College is hard alone. Add in the stress of competitions and practice, and it is very difficult. So is the real world.

What are your fondest memories of Illinois?
My freshman year, we were the first Illinois women’s gymnastics team to qualify for the NCAA National Championships. We were at the University of Washington [for NCAA Regionals]. It was so exciting, especially for our seniors.