Leveling Up: Dickinson gymnast qualifies for 2023 USA Gymnastics Nationals
Apr. 27—DICKINSON — Young athletes who strive for greatness often face uncomfortable and strenuous new challenges. For Dickinson gymnast Amy Fridley, her hard work has come to fruition, as she has gained entry to the 2023 USA Gymnastics Women's Development Program National Championships as a Level 10 athlete.
Fridley's accomplishment was obtained after placing fourth in the All-Around at the Region 4 meet in Milwaukee on April 14, with a score of 35.7 — a career best for the senior athlete. Fridley gave tremendous thanks to her parents and head coach Casey Berry for providing her with mental strength when she needed it most.
"I am just really thankful for my support system because I could never have done it without them," Fridley said. "I was feeling a lot of pressure going into regionals, and my parents and Casey [coach Berry] told me to 'just enjoy it because it could be your last meet, it might not be.' So I just went into regionals really enjoying it and taking every minute in because of my support system around me."
The Development Program for the 2023 National Championships USA Gymnastics will be held from May 9-14 at the Oklahoma City Convention Center. The competition will exhibit top-tier competition of junior and senior Level 10 gymnasts for women and Level 8, 9, and 10 for men. According to the USA Gymnastics website, there will be more than 1,700 athletes at the championships, with the summit in their peripherals.
Competing under the Western Edge Gymnastics with coach Berry and her parents by her side, Fridley has pushed past a season of hurdles and unfamiliarity, learning a whole new catalog of skills for routines. At the Region 4 competition, she was grouped in the Level 10 senior E Session B03, which had her competing with nine other gymnasts.
"I went into my group ranked dead last, so that was crazy, but it was just a really fun meet, and I got to rotate with other North Dakota kids, so that was really awesome to have a group of people that I knew," said Fridley.
Fridley started on floor, where she landed a 9.0, a score that was a season-high and garnered her third place in the event. She would also take third on bars with a score of 8.9 and fourth on vault with a 9.3, both scores also being season bests. On the beam, she fell on an aerial, but hit the rest of her routine to earn an 8.5 rating.
"This was my first year as Level 10, so it was completely different than any other year," Fridley said. "That was the first 9.0 on floor of the season, and so that was really cool to go out there and hit a good floor routine... And I had my best vault of the season too. I stuck my vault, and that was really special too."
Competing at Level 10 is no easy feat for any gymnast, being the highest level before elite. Fridley, who has been a standout with the Dickinson Midgets Gymnastic team in the past, gave up her senior year with the high school program to compete at Level 10. The sacrifice was arduous and the season had her constantly traveling across the country for competition, but Fridley said that it was all worth obtaining her dream.
"It was hard not competing with my team all season. It was hard not having them cheering me on. They were still cheering for me, but they weren't able to physically be there," Fridley said. "But I don't regret anything that happened this season. It means a lot, and it just shows that all of my hard work is paying off. Qualifying for Level 10 nationals has been a lifelong dream of mine because it is such a big deal to make it there. I am really excited about it."
Until the day of the competition, Fridley will be putting in reps and working on consistency, but overall, she will be focusing on staying healthy both mentally and physically. Her goal was to make it to nationals, and now she will be challenging herself to hit all four of her events, a feat she has yet to accomplish this season. Based on her performance at Regionals and with a mindset focused on enjoying the pinnacle of the championships competition, she is looking to be in peak performance to accomplish her goal.
Fridley's results at the 2023 Region 4 Championship
Vault — 9.3; Bars — 8.9; Beam — 8.5; Floor — 9.0; All-Around — 35.70.