Sierra Brooks is an inspirational leader for her teammates. Grace Beal/Daily. Buy this photo.

Consistent. Reliable. Hard-working. Leader. Impressive. Perfect.

These are the words that junior Sierra Brooks’s teammates use to describe the Michigan women’s gymnastics team’s captain — the 2022 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year and WCGA Regional Gymnast of the Year.

And time and again this season, Brooks has proven why those words apply. 

Brooks averaged a 9.845 on vault, 9.890 on bars, 9.818 on beam, 9.943 on floor and 39.562 in the all-around this season. Her elite performances have earned her a national ranking of fourth on vault, seventh on floor, and third-best in the country on all-around. Those numbers are part of what makes Brooks a threat to win an event title or the all-around in any given meet. 

Throughout this season, Brooks has won 15 titles across all four events and the all-around. That consistency is what has helped boost Michigan to its 26th National Semifinal appearance.

“She is just what you look for in an athlete,” senior Abby Heiskell said. “She is consistent as can be.”

Brooks is dependable and consistently steps up for her teammates in tough situations.

On Feb. 26, Michigan trailed Nebraska during the second rotation after three falls on its top-ranked vault event. The shocking vault performance came from a rotation that had set a program record the meet prior with a 49.875 overall. All eyes turned to Brooks in the fifth slot, who nailed her first career perfect 10 in response.

“She keeps the team calm and steady and helps us perform as a whole,” freshman Ashley Lane said. “So when you have someone that you know that can go up there and hit, it helps give you confidence as well.”

But unlike her fellow captain senior Abby Brenner, Brooks is not a loud leader. She leads in her own way.

Brooks is a captain on what the Wolverines describe as a team full of leaders. Their team environment is one where each athlete picks their teammates up, and their enthusiasm and support is abundantly clear. But Brooks is there for her teammates in a way that is inspiring and special.

“She leads not only with her words and her voice, but she also leads by example,” freshman Jacey Vore said. “She’s a role model and someone that you want to aspire to be.”

That inspiration shines outside the gymnasium, too.

Brooks is the President of the UM Student Athlete Advisory Committee and is majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Entrepreneurship at the Ross School of Business. She is always a text or a phone call away from her teammates and helps them out with applications or brainstorming potential majors.

“It’s inspiring to be around someone who is always trying to better themselves,” Vore said. “And Sierra is always trying to do that, and that’s exactly the leader that you want to have on your team.”

Ever since her collegiate debut in 2019 — where she won the beam event title with a 9.875 — Brooks has been elite. She made the starting rotation as a freshman and won Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Team MVP, Team Newcomer of the Year, Regional Gymnast of the Year and finished in the top 50 of every event. 

And she hasn’t slowed down since.

In her sophomore year, Brooks’ highlight-reel season helped Michigan win its first National Championship.

That year, she was a four-time WCGA All-American and two-time WCGA regular season All-American (1st team vault, 2nd team all-around). Brooks also won the NCAA Regional on vault, beam and in the all-around. She shared Team MVP, and made the All-Big Ten First Team for the second year in a row.

The season culminated with Brooks further building off of her already dominant sophomore campaign, helping lead Michigan to its 2021 National Championship. She posted her personal best scores on four events in the NCAA postseason, setting a Michigan NCAA Championships all-around program record with a 39.7750.

But those accomplishments don’t come without hard work.

“(Her work ethic) definitely motivates you to be better and strive to be as humble and successful as she is,” Vore said.

Her success has built upon itself year after year from those long hours in the gym. This season, Brooks has been unstoppable. Her top-seven personal rankings in three events and Big Ten Gymnast of the Year accolade have come as a byproduct of her hard work, but were never the goal.

“Honestly I never thought that I was (going to win) and I just didn’t expect it,” Brooks said. “It’s something that made my day, I didn’t even realize that it would be something that would happen, but it’s been a good year for me.

“So I was definitely excited and it just made me proud of all of the different accomplishments I’ve had over the past year.”

Brooks’s accomplishments this season have included two hard-earned 10.0s on vault. Each time she hit the score, it was in a clutch situation to propel her team when it was having a tough performance.

Beautiful rotations and picture-perfect landings are trademark Sierra Brooks vault characteristics that have been present throughout her career.

“Sierra has done so many vaults that have been deserving of a 10,” Heiskell said. “I’m finally glad that she is getting the scores that I think she has been deserving of for the last three years. She got a 10 at Nebraska, and then obviously again today (at the Big Ten Championships), and I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Brooks has stepped up in a big way throughout her career at Michigan. And even more so when her team needs her.

With Michigan heading to Fort Worth to compete in the National Semifinal on Thursday, it needs Brooks to step up once again on collegiate gymnastics’ biggest stage.

And thanks to her defining qualities, she is well-equipped to do so.