Bermuda captain Beckles to attend SUNY Cortland
Bermuda gymnastics national team captain Morgan Beckles will continue her sporting and educational development at The State University of New York (SUNY) College at Cortland.
The 18-year-old, who won three gold medals at the 2011 NatWest Island Games, will join the SUNY Cortland team in the autumn under the guidance of coach Gary Babjack.
Unfortunately for Beckles she will be unable to compete at this summer’s Island Games on home soil due to a wrist injury that has left her sidelined until September.
Beckles, who graduates from BHS in a few weeks, also had offers from Rutgers University, Ithaca College, and the University of Maryland but decided to attend SUNY after watching their gymnastics team compete on YouTube.
“I originally was not interested in Cortland because I had never heard of it before,” said Beckles, who represented Bermuda at the CAC Games in 2010.
“But then I stumbled upon their gymnastics team on YouTube. The year before last they had come first for NCAA Division Three gymnastics.
“This caught my attention so I did a little bit more research on them and I found that it was a good quality school with a reasonable price.
“What really won me was when I went to visit the school. I felt safe and it was not overwhelmingly big like a lot of state schools.
“People were really friendly and every student there that I met seemed to love the school.
“There are also lots of things to do on campus: campus jobs, clubs, weekend ski trips or trips to NYC. I think that I would always be busy.”
Although injury has ruled Beckles out of this year’s Island Games, she believes Bermuda’s team are capable of winning a slew of medals.
“I want to help the team stay focused and realise their potential in order to shine at Island Games and show-off Bermuda to our visitors,” she said.
“What makes me so excited for this Island Games is that it is in our home country which means that most of our spectators will be our fellow Bermudians.
“I hope that we amaze everyone here and show people that the Bermuda gymnastics team is serious. Of course, I hope that we win the team event and that we rack up the most medals.”
Beckles, who plans to study psychology and new media design at SUNY, intends to lead Bermuda’s gymnastics team at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next summer. Her ultimate goal is to represent her country at the Olympics.
Bermuda head coach Duke Nelligan, who took over the Bermuda Gymnastics Association programme in 2009, described Beckles as “a very special athlete.”
“Morgan will be sorely missed in the gym but her coaches are pleased that she will continue gymnastics at a high level,” said the former University of Maryland coach.
“Morgan is a very special athlete from a supportive family that helped teach her the importance of hard work and tenacity. One of my favourite qualities that Morgan has is that she loves competition and takes representing Bermuda very seriously.
“At the CAC Games, she hit all eight routines over two days of competition. That is almost unheard of for a young competitor and it is going to make her a great college gymnast.
“All of the coaches and families who have known her in our programme are so excited to follow her career and of course welcome her back to compete for Bermuda.”