Abernathy builds momentum, morale in final season

The senior charted two personal records in last weekend’s dual against Ohio State.

by Emily Polglaze

Injuries and hardships can be a quick way to get an athlete down – but not Bailey Abernathy.

The senior is only getting better in her final season with the Gophers, and it’s not on accident.

“[The mindset is] no regrets,” Abernathy said. “This is the last year that I’m going to be in this sport, and [I’m] leaving it all out on the floor and giving it my everything. This sport has been part of my life for 18 years, so it’s the culmination of all that hard work and all of those hours put in.”

The road of college gymnastics hasn’t always been an easy one for Abernathy. In her first two seasons, she saw little competition time.

The Denver, Colorado native was also riddled with injuries early in her career, and spread her attention across all four all-around events.

The tribulations did little to stop Abernathy. If anything, they pushed her even more.“Her freshman year she didn’t contribute as much, and I think that really was fire to her,” said senior teammate Bailie Holst. “She was like, ‘I’m going to work really hard so that I’m in that lineup,’ and look at her now, she’s one of the ones we count on every single meet.”

Abernathy has improved each year since then and shows no sign of stopping soon.She has cut her events down to only vault and floor, where she has excelled so far.

Last weekend against Ohio State, Abernathy scored two personal records just four meets into the season in the events with scores of 9.925 each.

She was named Big Ten Event Specialist of the Week for her efforts.

Abernathy has set the bar high for herself for the rest of the season, but said the nature of her events complement each other and keep her on the right page.

“They’re both very powerful events, and that makes it easy for me to tune in and say ‘Let’s be powerful, let’s be aggressive,’” Abernathy said.

Abernathy has dedicated herself to who she is outside of competition. The same drive and determination that she possesses in the gym also translates in the classroom.

Abernathy is a physiology major and hopes to continue on to medical school after graduation. She received Big Ten and All-American scholar honors last season for her academic performance.

The example Abernathy has put forth hasn’t been lost on her teammates.“She’s very determined career-wise in becoming a doctor,’ Holst said. “And you know by how hard she works that she’s going to accomplish that. There’s no doubt in your mind that, ‘Yep, she’s going to go for it.’”

Abernathy’s sense of fire drives her to do her best this completion season and to also be a mentor for teammates as part of a leadership team that she’s been a part of since her sophomore year.

Despite her individual success, Abernathy said she still has plenty to improve on, and she includes each member of her team every step of the way.

“[I’m] bringing my team with me,” Abernathy said. “It’s not a one-person show anymore, it’s all about the team and if I can encourage my teammates in any way, shape or form, then my job is done.”