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Rooney: Jorie Hall's Journey to Nationals
Courtesy: Pat Rooney, DenverPioneers.com  
Release: 02/28/2012

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Every time Jorie Hall puts her arms through a particularly stressful move, especially on her signature event, Beam, a little flare of pain often reminds Hall of a club career that perhaps fell short of her perpetually lofty expectations.

Yet those same flares also remind Hall on an almost daily basis of the vital importance of her unflappable work ethic.

Hall, a Denver native and a sophomore standout with the University of Denver gymnastics team, has dealt with the painful effects of plica for much of her career, an arthritic-type inflammation that commonly afflicts the elbows and knees of athletes.

Hall's pain, however, has not prevented the sophomore from becoming a consistent performer for the Pioneers in three events-the floor exercise, vault, and balance beam.

"(Plica) causes pain in my elbows. It was pretty painful," Hall said. "It got better when I got to college. Maintaining it has been a lot better with our training room. Being able to get treatment on it has helped a lot. We're managing how much I do, what days I'm on my arms, what days I'm not.

"Actually, my junior year (of high school) I had a good year. It didn't start hurting me too bad until the last bit. It was really difficult. I didn't do much Bars, and I don't do Bars now. It was hard for me to get back into vault, and that was the one I had focused on the most."

Hall competed at the Aurora-based Colorado Gymnastics Institute and won a Level 8 state championship in 2006. Despite being unable to qualify for Level 10 Junior Olympics Nationals, in part because of her lingering arm issues throughout her senior year, Hall's athletic ability nonetheless impressed DU head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart, and she was invited to join the Pioneers program as a recruited walk-on.

Hall made an immediate impact as a freshman, winning the Beam title at three meets and posting a career-best mark of 9.9 on the beam while tying for first at the 2011 NCAA West Regional. Hall proceeded to place 35th nationally on the beam. It was an impressive feat for a rookie, and one that Kutcher-Rinehart is quick to attribute to Hall's unyielding work ethic.

"She has one of the strongest work ethics of anyone I've ever met," Kutcher-Rinehart said. "For me to say that is sort of a big statement, because I've worked around a lot of people who have had strong work ethics. Jorie, every turn, every event, every practice, every day, goes out with an intensity of focus. Jorie rarely needs to be reminded. I actually don't have to say anything to her. That's her character. She has a lot of pride in what she does."

Hall's roots in the sport stretch back to 1996, when she and her grandfather were watching the Atlanta Summer Olympics. Hall, then only 4-years old, kept telling anyone who would listen that she absolutely could perform each and every move she was watching on television. Before long, Hall was enrolled in a club and doing just that.

"Looking back, it kind of stands out, because the difficulty level in gymnastics has gotten so much better," Hall said. "My grandpa told my mom, 'We should put her in gymnastics because she can do it.' That year my grandpa died, so he never got to see me do it. But I continued to do it. Whenever a year is over I think of him and look at where I was and where I am today."

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