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‘Fight and Resilience’: Brown Gymnastics’s journey to the GEC championships

Bears will compete in annual championship competition on Saturday in New Haven

<p>Second-year Head Coach Brittany Harris has guided this season’s squad through trials and tribulations.</p><p>Courtesy of Kaiolena Tacazon via Brown Athletics </p>

Second-year Head Coach Brittany Harris has guided this season’s squad through trials and tribulations.

Courtesy of Kaiolena Tacazon via Brown Athletics

The Brown gymnastics team (13-13, 7-7 GEC) will be under the spotlight one last time this season on Saturday night in New Haven, where Yale will host the GEC Championships in the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

After scoring a season-high National Qualifying Score of 194.020 — the second-highest in program history — the Bears have earned the No. 3 seed and will compete against Yale, West Chester and GEC regular-season champion Penn.

“The fight and resilience of this team this year has been inspiring to me,” wrote Head Coach Brittany Harris. “Although we have had some ups and downs throughout preseason and even during the season, that is when this team really comes together, leans in, and supports one another wholeheartedly.”

“Whether it’s putting together routines, getting them ready, or helping to break into lineups, everyone is doing what they can for a successful season,” Harris added. “That’s all you can ask for as a coach.”


Brown’s performance this season has been spearheaded by Julia Bedell ’25 — this year’s Ivy Classic Floor Champion and three-time GEC Specialist of the Week. “We are peaking at the right time and I truly believe we have the potential to walk away GEC champions this weekend,” Bedell wrote.

“Although our team has had some obstacles along the way, we have become closer than ever because of it,” Bedell wrote. “Growth is experienced more in adversity than constant success. I am really proud of the team as we are building and preparing for conference championships.”

Playoff prospects did not always appear promising for the Bears. On Feb. 17, Brown Gymnastics — challenged by injuries and a lack of depth — had lost their last four meets to New Hampshire, Rutgers, Towson and Long Island. But the Bruno squad refused to give up, bouncing back to .500 with a 13-13 record.

Perhaps no one on this Brown squad represents fight and resilience better than Asta-Sollilja Farrell ’24. Farrell did not compete during her freshman season due to COVID, and then lost her sophomore season due to a severe knee injury which “forever changed (her) as a gymnast and an athlete,” she wrote. 

Through it all, Farrell fought hard and remained determined, eventually scoring a 9.850 and earning GEC Newcomer of the Week in her collegiate debut against Yale last January.

“(Because of my injury,) I’ve migrated back to just doing bars, but I feel so lucky and so proud of myself that my hard work was able to pay off and I got the experiences I wanted,” Farrell wrote. 

Beyond her talent on the mat, Farrell is also a leader for the young Brown team. “I think this is the closest this team has ever been, in and outside of the gym,” Farrell wrote. “We have such an amazing group of girls, and when I look back on Brown Gymnastics, those are memories and feelings I will hold onto, not whether we won or lost,” she added.

While Brown’s squad has largely relied on returners such as Bedell and Farrell to contribute, they have been helped tremendously by freshmen, too. Lindsey Yang ’27 was named GEC Newcomer of the Week after scoring a 9.850 on both beam and floor at Long Island on Feb. 17.

“The grit and resilience within this team is unmatched and I have seen girls step up into new roles,” Yang wrote.

“My favorite part of the season was traveling to new places and competing with the team. On these trips, we were able to become closer as a team and create lifetime memories,” she added.


Seven Brown gymnasts combined for a total of 10 all-conference honors in the GEC. Bedell (Vault & Floor) and Angela Xing ’24 (Vault) received First-Team All-GEC honors, while Sophia Dewar ’26 (Vault & Floor), Farrell (Bars), Lauren McKeown ’24 (Bars), Liza Marcus ’26 (Beam), Xing (Beam) and Maya Davis ’25 (Floor) earned Second-Team All-GEC honors.

The team now awaits the GEC Championships, which will kick off at 6 p.m. on Saturday and will be streamed on ESPN+.

“Our focus this week is to improve each routine by half a tenth. As a team, we have been focusing on little details like form, handstands and sticking our landings,” Harris wrote.  

“When this team is locked in our ‘bear den’ and having fun, they perform their best gymnastics,” she added. “If we do that, there is no limit to what this championship can offer us, and I’m excited to see what it brings.”

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Cooper Herman

Cooper Herman is a senior staff writer covering sports and arts & culture. He is a freshman from Alexandria, Virginia studying Economics and International and Public Affairs.

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