Student-Athlete of the Week: Ally Blixt and Jacob Burchfield
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Student-Athlete of the Week: Ally Blixt and Jacob Burchfield

Trevor Kliebenstein, Sports Reporter

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On March 26, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Eagles junior gymnast Ally Blixt and senior swimmer Jacob Burchfield were awarded Student-Athlete of the week.  

Ally Blixt 

At the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) Championships on March 23, Blixt earned her first career All-America honor for tying for second on the balance beam (9.750), a career high in the event. 

Blixt, who made her first career appearance at the NCGA Championship event, was ecstatic after finishing with a 9.750 on the balance beam. Just a few weeks earlier, Blixt finished only 20th on the beam at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championships with a score of 9.475.  

After drastically improving her score at the NCGA Championships, she said, “It was such a surreal feeling to place second. It felt like all of the hard work throughout the season had finally paid off and all the hours of practice were worth it.” 

In the past, UWL has earned 17 all time NCGA Championships and 234 All-America honors. While seven Eagle gymnasts participated at the NCGA Championships, Blixt and her teammates weren’t completely satisfied with their performances. 

After not finishing in the top six of the championship event, Blixt said, “I think that our team had a lot of highs and lows this season. It didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but we’re all fired up and ready to start working towards next year.”  

Blixt, a junior, has one more year to compete as a UWL gymnast. “It’s so crazy to think that I’m already going to be a senior next year. I still feel like I’m a freshman,” said Blixt.  

Blixt is focused on bringing her team an 18th NCGA Championship during her senior season. She said, “My biggest goal is to make the most of my last year and to not take anything for granted. I’m so excited to have one last year with my team.” 

Ever since Blixt has stepped onto campus, she’s had all the support in the world from the people surrounding her, which has helped her succeed as a gymnast. Regarding what she attributed to her consistent success as an Eagle gymnast, she said, “Hard work, persistence and the constant support from all my teammates.” 

Blixt is an Exercise sport science pre-professional major and nutrition minor. She plans on taking a gap year after college, then applying to physical therapy school. Her goal is to become a physical therapist for other athletes. 

Outside of gymnastics, Blixt travels, tries out new things and hangs out with friends. “I also love to snowboard, except I haven’t been able to do that since starting college gymnastics,” said Blixt. She loves La Crosse because of the bluffs, Pearl Street Ice Cream Parlor and Sushi Pirate. 

Jacob Burchfield 

Burchfield was awarded two NCAA Division 3 All-America honors at the men’s swimming and diving national championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. The first All-America honor was for placing 16th in the 50-yard freestyle on March 20. On March 21, he earned his second All-America honor for finishing 16th in the 200-yard freestyle relay with teammates Hans Hover, Alec Carlson and Jack Rohlinger.  

While Burchfield is grateful for the two honors, him and his teammates envisioned better results at the national meet. He said, “I was excited to be at nationals with the group we had. I’m glad we got All America honors, but the guys and I do wish we placed higher.” 

Burchfield, a senior, swam for his last time as an Eagle at the national championships. His last swim was in the 200-yard freestyle where he succeeded with fellow senior Alec Carlson. “I am honored to end my career with Alec. The 200-freestyle relay is by far our favorite relay, so it was a fitting end to say the least,” said Burchfield. 

Now is the time for Burchfield to start reflecting on the incredible career he’s had at UWL over the past four years. He received All-WIAC second team honors his freshman and sophomore season. Last season, he received swimmer of the meet at the WIAC Championships and this season he earned All-WIAC first team. 

Burchfield credited the team atmosphere to his success during his four years as a UWL swimmer. He said, “The team is why I came to UWL. It’s a great group of guys who always push myself and others in practice and at meets.”  

The winning culture that UWL has had across all sports is a huge reason Burchfield loves competing for the athletic program. He said, “It’s awesome to be surrounded by other great athletes and coaches who support each other. Swimming at UWL has taught me the importance of teamwork and group dynamics that I hope to carry into my future.” 

Burchfield is a psychology major with a sociology minor and plans on attending graduate school. Eventually, he would love to be a collegiate swim coach.  

Besides swimming, Burchfield enjoys fishing and playing video games. His favorite part about La Crosse is the people here and the beautiful scenery the city provides with the bluffs and the Mississippi River. “I love working with the community in the summer and am always learning new, interesting facts about La Crosse,” said Burchfield, the Lakeville, Minnesota native. His favorite place to dine is The Crow. 

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