Gymnasts battle schedule

Piper Gymnastics compete against nationally ranked opponents before hosting WIAC Championship on March 15.


Cole Mayer

Sophomore Emilie Giefer looks to show off her skills on the Uneven Parallel Bars.

Paul Patane, Senior Reporter

Hamline gymnastics hosted University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire on Saturday, Feb. 14 at Walker Field House. The Pipers fell narrowly to the Blugolds, 180.625-181.450. Senior Jacklyn Clement led Hamline gymnasts by winning the Vault competition with a score of 9.450.

Junior Briana Bridgeford had a strong showing by earning third on the Balance Beam with a score of 9.225 and fourth on the Uneven Parallel Bars with 9.125. Senior Tasha Golding scored 9.100 on the Balance Beam.

Golding competes exclusively on the Balance Beam and hopes to finish her Piper career at a high level.

“I love Beam. I love the adrenaline and I have a love-hate relationship with competing in it. I love that feeling when it comes to competing,” Golding said.

In addition to being a top notch gymnast, Golding sets an example to inspire her younger teammates.

“I came in as a first-year and I was not used to being the youngest. I was intimidated, very scared and shy. I was very emotional and I struggled a lot with the transition between club and college gymnastics. Throughout the years, I’ve grown to love college athletics. My favorite thing to do is to be a leader and to help the freshmen,” Golding said.

Bridgeford prides herself in being a leader and good teammate, much like Golding.

“I wasn’t sure how the whole team aspect would work out. I really grew to like it. Once meets started, it started to feel like we were bonding. It’s fun to see the freshmen come in and to see them grow,” Bridgeford said.

Sophomore Emilie Giefer had a similar experience after transitioning to Hamline.

“When I was in club, it was more for myself. Now that I’m at Hamline, its more about the team,” Giefer said.

On Friday, Jan. 30, the Pipers visited the Pacific Northwest to see how they would stack up against Division I competitors. Oregon State (no. 10 in nation) hosted the Pipers, in addition to bringing in Sacrament State and Washington (no. 17 in nation).

Giefer has noticed the team has grown closer, especially after their trip to Oregon.

“Oregon was so much fun. It wasn’t all about the competition, but about being with the team. Making memories with the team,” Giefer said.

Golding had a similar reaction and relished in the opportunity to compete against Division I opponents.

“Going to the meet, I was very nervous. We were the only Division III team there and I didn’t quite know what to expect. It was very upbeat. We went to Mt. Hood, the coast, the city [Portland], as a team. It was a time that I’ll cherish,” Golding said.

Bridgeford cherished the Oregon trip in addition to other experiences Head Coach Doug Byrnes has exposed the Pipers to.

“It was one of my best experiences while here at Hamline. Coach Doug wants us to experience the world. As a team, we grew a lot and got a lot closer. At the meet, there were about 4,000 people there,” Bridgeford said.

Giefer appreciates gifted coaches backing her as she continues to develop as a gymnast.

“He’s [Coach Doug] very supportive and wanting to be successful. It’s encouraging and I trust him very much. [Assistant Coach] Isaac [Fordyce] is so calm and patient,” Giefer said.

The 1-5 Pipers hosted Winona State last night, Tuesday Feb. 17. The team competes next in Minneapolis at the Best of Minnesota Meet on Sunday, Feb. 22, against University of Minnesota, Gustavus Adolphus and Winona State. The WIAC Championship will be held at Hutton Arena on Sunday, March 15.