LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — For Crysta Dilley, gymnastics was everything. The McCutcheon senior dreamed of competing at the college level one day, but that dream changed.
"In seventh grade I dislocated it (her arm), but it popped right back in after afterwards. I came back and I like broke it a couple of years later, it was my sophomore year, I completely dislocated it," said Dilley. "So I ended up getting UCL and LCL ligament repair surgery, which is like Tommy John kind of."
There were seemingly endless injuries to name at a young age. Multiple arm surgeries and an ankle procedure drove Dilley out of the sport she loved by the end of her freshman year.
"Six month to eight month recovery times, and then I come back for a little bit, then I'd get like hurt again."
"She kind of left the sport, without getting that last final 'Yay, this is my last final meet,'" said Crysta's mother Beth. "Just because we didn't know that everything was going to play out the way that it did."
Dilley competed in other sports for a few years, including golf, until a friend finally brought her back to the sport she loved.
"She, (her friend Emma) was just like, just do it for fun, and I was like, you're right, and she was like, you don't even have to be good, and I was like, you're right, I'll just do it for fun," said Dilley. "I picked up stuff a lot faster than I thought I would especially with the time off."
Her success lead her to the state finals in the 2-Bar competition, where she completeda a near flawless routine with a score of 9.6. Good enough for first place.
"I was crying and all of my teammates are crying, and I was just so excited."
"She's always remarked, she's never seen daddy cry, well it's a good thing she wasn't up there, or she'd of seen daddy up there crying," said her father Dean.
For a time Dilley didn't know if she'd ever compete in gymnastics again, she now ends her career alone on the list of state gymnastics champions from Tippecanoe county.
"This was a good way to go out, like senior year it was a perfect way to go out," said Dilley.