Local gymnast shines at the 2022 USA Gymnastics Western Championships

“It is the first time we have had someone in Dickinson get this achievement,” said coach Casey Berry.

Amy Fridley on the winner's podium after placing first in vault at the 2022 USA Gymnastic Western Championships.
Contributed / Casey Berry
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SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH — Wearing the number 439 on her leotard and unknowingly on the cusp of greatness, Amy Fridley channeled the years of hard work to dazzle everyone with her mental and physical strength at the USA Gymnastics Western Championships in Salt Lake City this May.

The Dickinson junior reached a historical milestone for Midgets' gymnastics, setting several personal records and placing first in the vault event in Salt Lake City. The accolade is one that had never previously been achieved by any Dickinson native before Fridley — foreshadowing her promising future in the sport.

The event featured the very best competition in the entire western United States competing in 10 varying levels of difficulty. Fridley would compete in level nine, a tier that her coach, Casey Berry, said takes monumental effort and dedication.

“It is an honor to have her make it that far and do that well. To see all of her hard work be awarded by the judges, it was awesome,” Berry said. “To see her up on that stand with a big smile on her face was a great culmination of hard work.”

The Prerequisite

Leading to her participation in Salt Lake City, Fridley competed in the Region 4 Championship in Minneapolis that was from April 22-24. The competition featured gymnasts from several Midwestern states including Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.


To continue her season, gaining entry to the Western Championship, she’d had to place in the top seven in her age group in the all-around. After ending the meet with an all-around score of 34.675, Fridley claimed the feat with a fifth place finish.

“She has just been getting better and better,” Berry said. “She did struggle a little bit mid-year, but to see her peak at the end of the year was exactly what we were hoping would happen and is exactly what she did. It has been awesome watching her get better and better and she still has more in her, which is going to be great.”

On The Main Stage

The finest athletes of Regions 1, 2, 3 and 4, the western half of the country, congregated at the Mountain America Exposition Center in Salt Lake City to make their final mark on the 2022 season. In total, there were 28 athletes competing in each age division, Fridley represented Region 4 in the senior seven (Sr.7) age division.

Her performance shined more than a glimmer, claiming four PRs, including her historic gold medal in vault with a score of 9.65. Her other three personal best was in beam (8.975), floor (9.025) and her all-around (36.575). She garnered seventh place standings in both beam and her all-around and tied for 12th in bars with a score of 8.925.

“Amy had her best meet of the season for sure,” Berry said. “She has been doing it a lot at practice, she just hasn't been really able to do it out on a hard surface, so this was the first time she put it out there and it was just awesome.”

Coach Casey Berry rushes towards Amy Fridley after a successful vault execution.
Contributed / Casey Berry

Fridley is alongside Acacia Fossum and Elizabeth Karsky as the only three Dickinson athletes to have ever qualified for the Western Championship. However, she is currently the one and only to walk away with the title in vault.

“It is the first time we have had someone in Dickinson get this achievement,” Berry said. “It is not the first time this has happened in the state, but I think it is cool that we are home to a kiddo who is a Western National champion.”

Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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