At the start of this year’s season, instead of choosing slower-paced music for her floor routine, gymnast Julia Bedell ’25 decided she wanted to go bold. She chose an instrumental version of “Confident” by Demi Lovato — out of her comfort zone, but light-hearted and upbeat.
The music “really just captured everything that I wanted to do this season,” she told The Herald. “I wanted to be confident. I wanted to go forward and put my best work out there.”
This past weekend, Bedell won gold on floor exercise at the USA Gymnastics’ Women’s Collegiate National Championships competition hosted at Texas Woman’s University. She scored a 9.888 on her routine at the individual finals on Saturday, winning the title of national champion on the floor exercise.
“I’m still trying to process all the emotions,” Bedell said of the meet, the final one of the season and the last for the team’s seniors.
“But the overall emotion is just super grateful and happy,” she said. “I feel very proud of myself and very thankful for everyone around me that’s helped me get this far.”
At the individual competition Saturday, routines were performed one at a time, highlighting each gymnast, Head Coach Brittany Harris told The Herald. Everyone was cheering for each other, and the meet was filled with support and energy, she added.
“Watching Julia get rewarded for her beautiful and incredible floor routine … was really exciting and the icing on the cake,” Harris said.
In Thursday’s team preliminary competition, Brown scored 193.050, finishing third out of four teams in their session. Though they did not advance to the team finals on Friday, four Bears gymnasts — including Bedell — earned First-Team USAG All-American honors, advancing to Saturday’s individual finals. Bedell and Abby Contello ’23 both competed on vault, with Contello tying for fourth overall with a score of 9.750.
“My mindset heading into the competition was really just to leave it all out there and have no regrets,” Contello said. “Knowing that this was our last competition was bittersweet, but we knew that everything left in the tank we had to give that day.”
Ella Poley ’23.5 placed eighth on bars with a 9.688, and Herald Staff Writer Maya Davis ’25 scored a 9.825 on floor, landing her fifth place.
Brown Gymnastics ended its 2022-23 season with multiple new program records and a season-high score of 195.200 at the Ivy Classic Feb. 26 — the second-highest in program history — which earned them the Ivy League title.
The team’s Ivy Classic win was a highlight of the season, multiple gymnasts told The Herald.
“The work that we put in in the fall, during our preseason, definitely paid off in that moment,” Contello said. “That was just very special, as a senior, to celebrate” the win in the Pizzitola Sports Center.
“As a team, we finished better than we started — that’s the growth of it, and the joy of the journey,” Harris said. The team’s performance Thursday “wasn't exactly what we wanted, but it was still a very, very good ending for us,” she added.
Contello said she is still “in shock” that her gymnastics career has come to an end. When asked what advice she had for her underclassmen teammates, she said, “Cherish every moment that you have with each other. It really does go by so quickly.”
“Having to say goodbye to (the seniors), it's just a very — it's a hard thing to do,” Bedell said. For Bedell, nationals was for the seniors. “Everything I did this weekend and everything I put out there was for them,” she said.
“I'm super proud of myself and my team,” Bedell added. “I'm so proud of everything that we've accomplished this season. And I can't wait for next year.”
Haley Sandlow is a section editor covering science and research as well as admissions and financial aid. She is a sophomore from Chicago, Illinois studying English and French.
Sam Levine is a University News editor from Brooklyn, New York overseeing the staff and student labor and on-campus activism beats. He is a sophomore concentrating in International and Public Affairs.