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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Beamer’ shines for Gymcats

    Freshman gymnast Briana Bergeson competes on the uneven bars for the Gymcats Feb. 3. Arizona has won three meets in a row and head to Stanford tonight with Bergeson leading the way on balance beam and uneven bars.
    Freshman gymnast Briana Bergeson competes on the uneven bars for the Gymcats Feb. 3. Arizona has won three meets in a row and head to Stanford tonight with Bergeson leading the way on balance beam and uneven bars.

    When you hear freshman Briana “”Beamer”” Bergeson’s nickname for the first time, confusion could settle in. Do people call her “”Beamer”” because of the car she drives, or is it possibly some sort of derogatory term?

    “”When I was little, I would smile a lot,”” Bergeson said. “”So my dad would call me ‘beamer’ because when you are smiling, you’re beaming.””

    Maybe it’s no coincidence then that she also happens to be really good on the balance beam, currently holding Arizona gymnastics’ season high score of 9.900.

    Bergeson and the rest of the No. 14 Gymcats (3-7, 3-2 Pacific 10 Conference) will travel to Palo Alto, Calif., to face No. 10 Stanford (8-2, 3-1) at 8:30 tonight.

    Bergeson had a rough start to her first year campaign, but the 5-foot-2 product from Gilbert continues to improve and work on her reliability to bring in high scores from her two events, beam and uneven bars.

    “”When I came here I was inconsistent on my events,”” she said. “”You are not going to compete if you are not consistent.””

    Bergeson is entering her 12th year competing in gymnastics and has been involved in the sport since she was 6 years old. Her parents own the Arizona Dynamics gym where she trained.

    “”I was in dance, but I was too wild, so my mom put me in gymnastics instead,”” she said.

    “”Beamer”” chose to come to UA because she loved the team, facilities and the Arizona weather. She even canceled a recruiting trip to Oregon State because she knew the Wildcats were part of her future.

    “”When I came in, it was harder than I thought it would be,”” she said. “”I had to work really hard to get back into shape, and now that I am here I wouldn’t trade it for the world.””

    Bergeson is also excited to not have to go into the meets as an individual anymore, as she had done in her club gymnastics experience.

    “”I love competing with a team because I have never gotten to do that before,”” she said.

    Arizona head coach Bill Ryden said he is happy to have Bergeson’s talents on the team.

    “”She truly is a natural up on the balance beam,”” he said. “”You can’t coach that, some people are just so comfortable up there.””

    As a team, Arizona has struggled in the beam, ranking No. 18 in the nation with an average score of 48.308. Bergeson has been the anchor in what is otherwise a weak spot in the team, scoring a 9.800 or higher in her last four meets.

    “”To be able to put up the scores she’s put up … at a time when that event really needed someone to step up, she’s done a lot for the team,”” Ryden said.

    Bergeson also averages 9.700 in the bars event, where she usually goes first in the rotation.

    “”Her bar work has been just as important as her beam work,”” Ryden said. “”Right now, we are ranked fourth in the nation on bars, and I could say a lot of that credit goes to her because she sets us up so well. The rest of the bar team takes off from there.””

    Junior Aubrey Taylor said she appreciates the attitude and work ethic that Bergeson brings every day.

    “”Like the name says, she’s always smiling just as soon as she walks into the gym,”” Taylor said. “”She’s a very vibrant young woman. She brings a lot of energy to the team.””

    Taylor also said she sees that Bergeson has adapted to the team aspect very quickly.

    “”She’s taken on a leadership role … in the freshmen,”” she said.

    Bergeson said home meets are always thrilling because her parents and some of the other gymnasts she trained with growing up make it down to see her as much as possible.

    “”I love that they support me all the time,”” she said. “”It makes me feel like I have something to work for because they all look up to me. It makes me work harder.””

    Both Ryden and Bergeson said they agree that Bergeson can be a competitor who consistently delivers at least a 9.900 on beam and 9.800 on bars.

    “”(That) would put her right in line for all-conference and all-American (honors),”” Ryden said.

    In the end, Bergeson said she acknowledges that it’s all about the team, which she sees going very far this year.

    “”I definitely see this team going to nationals,”” she said. “”We all click so well, no one thought we’d be this good because we are so young. It’s that much more motivating to show that they are wrong.””

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