In her first three seasons, Brenna Dowell was an important fixture in Oklahoma’s vault, bars and floor lineups. However, this season Dowell has found her way into the beam lineup four times, never scoring lower than a 9.850. She joins a long list of NCAA gymnasts who have finally cracked the beam lineup and competed all around for the first time in their senior seasons.
“It’s really really special,” Dowell said. “It’s been a goal ever since I got to college, and it’s really cool to finally go out there and compete all four events senior year.”
Head Coach KJ Kindler said that because of Dowell’s experience, she feels confident putting her on beam, especially with nationals held on a podium.
“Obviously, she’s a veteran, not only in college gymnastics but elite gymnastics,” Kindler said. “She’s been on the podium her whole life, so going into nationals I’ll feel very confident with her on the balance beam. In the past she was always the alternate pushing her way in. And it was kind of a lack of consistency in practice that led to her not competing, but she has really reversed that.”
As for how she has found that consistency and confidence, Dowell credits how well Kindler prepares her in the gym day in and day out.
“KJ Kindler is an amazing beam coach,” Dowell said. “She really prepares us to be ready here, so I usually feel pretty confident once I get out on the beam.”
Another thing that has helped her consistency is changing her series to something she’s more comfortable with. She’s competed a number of combinations over the years, including the standard back handspring layout step-out, but not really stuck until now.
“We’ve done a new series this year, and she seems to be a lot more aggressive on it,” Kindler said. “Brenna’s a person who needs to be aggressive to be successful.”
Having someone as experienced as Dowell in the all around will serve the Sooners well as they seek their fourth national championship.
“[I’m] really impressed with her stepping up in the all around for us and proud of her accomplishments,” Kindler said.
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Article by Mary Emma Burton
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