Curtains drawn: Dickinson gymnast closes book on HS career, makes history at USA Gymnastics Nationals
May 24—DICKINSON — Medals have been given out, athletes have returned home and Amy Fridley is still processing the fact that she has competed at 2023 USA Gymnastics Development Program National Championships. A trailblazer in Dickinson, the teenager has left an indelible mark on the gymnastics program by becoming the first local athlete to compete at the prestigious development program. As she bid farewell to her high school career, Fridley achieved an impressive national ranking in the top 50 in the country for Level 10 all-around. Reflecting on her remarkable journey, she now sets her sights on donning the Blue Devil colors as she prepares to embark on her collegiate gymnastics career at the esteemed University of Wisconsin-Stout.
The atmosphere of the national meet was unlike any other for Fridley and her coach, Casey Berry, both taking in the high energy within the Oklahoma City Convention Center. Surrounded by elite athletes, Fridley felt a sense of belonging due to the hard work she had put in.
"The atmosphere was so crazy to experience because it is so different from any other meet I have been through, " Fridley said. "All these immensely talented gymnasts are there. All the top 20 girls in my group were all D1 commits, the top two got full rides to Alabama, it is just a high level of gymnastics and I just took in the experience and appreciated what everybody else was doing and was thankful that I got to be there to experience it."
After Thursday's opening ceremony and spectating the meet on Friday and Saturday, Sunday was the day of competition. Nerves were present, but a season of competing at Level 10 had prepared Fridley for this moment.
"At level 10 ... more times than not, you have just one or two level 10s, so you have to get used to that internal motivation and pulling inside yourself instead of feeding off from those around you. So she has been preparing for that all year," Berry said. "Her performance at nationals is kind of like a culmination of her career. She really hit everything the best that she could. She went four-for-four and that speaks to Amy's whole career. She has always been a pretty consistent athlete who is able to hit under pressure."
Fridley excelled in each of her events, starting with vault, where she achieved her highest score of the season with a 9.525. The second significant moment for the senior was her floor routine, her final event of the day and her final event for Dickinson.
"[My floor routine] was my last event and that was the last time I got to be Casey's athlete so it was a special moment to be there with Casey and to just enjoy it," Fridley said. "Going into it I wasn't even thinking about it a lot because I have been so consistent on the floor that I just wanted to enjoy it and that is exactly what I did ... It takes a while to process things and I am still processing that I am done competing for this gym so it was such a special moment to finish at nationals and to represent Dickinson at the national level that no one has done before."
While competing, Fridley remained stone-faced and completely focused, but after completing her events with a 9.075 on floor and a personal best of 35.900 in the all-around, the floodgates of emotions poured out. Though she shed a few tears, the melancholic feelings of conclusion still haven't quite left her.
Speaking with the Press, she traveled back in time, from winning state as a sophomore when a national competition seemed unimaginable, to being a seventh-grader who could never have envisioned her senior year. The most important aspect of Fridley's story is her hard work attitude, which she shares as her closing words of advice for those who aspire to reach the highest stage in gymnastics.
"I would say, work hard." Fridley said. "No matter if you feel like you can't get there, like I didn't, you can because if you just put in the effort then you will. And just enjoy every moment of it, because it truly goes by super fast ... take in the little moments."
Fridley says she is excited for the new chapter in her story as a collegiate athlete, particularly the team atmosphere that awaits her at Wisconsin-Stout. Coach Berry strongly believes that Fridley will be a great addition to the Blue Devils due to her hard work and motivational skills.
"She is a really good teammate, she is good at cheering on other people, she is super consistent with her performance and most importantly, she is a super hard worker in practice and people just feed off of that energy," Berry said. "Of course we are going to miss her a ton, we will be watching her every step of the way and we just can't wait to see what she does next year as a Blue Devil."