May 21, 2013 at 2:09 p.m.

Beckles’ big leap to SUNY Cortland

Beckles’ big leap to SUNY Cortland
Beckles’ big leap to SUNY Cortland

By BGA press release- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Morgan Beckles, 18, will graduate from BHS in just a few weeks. Along with completing the IB program at BHS, Morgan has been the team captain of the Bermuda National Gymnastics Team for three years. She is one of Bermuda’s most accomplished gymnasts, participating in CAC Games in 2010 and winning three gold medals at the NatWest Island Games in 2011. Her hard work helped earn her the Outstanding Teen Service Award for Sports in 2013.

Under head coach Duke Nelligan (who took over the BGA program in 2009 after 30 years at the University of Maryland), Morgan started her senior year looking forward to leading the team at July’s NatWest Island Games right here in Bermuda. Unfortunately, a wrist injury and subsequent surgery to repair the complete TFC cartilage tear has left her sidelined until September.

Despite the setback in the gym, Morgan forged ahead with her plans to compete in NCAA gymnastics. She was accepted to SUNY Cortland, Rutgers, Ithaca, and Maryland, all of which have competitive gymnastics programs. After much deliberation, Morgan is excited to join the SUNY Cortland team in the fall to train under Coach Gary Babjack. Not only will she be a valuable asset to Cortland’s squad, but she hopes to lead Bermuda’s National Team at the Commonwealth Games next summer.

Morgan will be sorely missed in the gym but her coaches are pleased that she will continue gymnastics at a high level. “Morgan is a very special athlete from a supportive family that helped teach her the importance of hard work and tenacity. One of my favorite qualities that Morgan has is that she loves competition and takes representing Bermuda very seriously. At the CAC Games, she hit all 8 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 program are so excited to follow her career and of course welcome her back to compete for Bermuda”, says Coach Nelligan.

We asked Morgan to answer a few questions about finishing up her senior year at the BGA…..

Q:  Tell me about the Outstanding Teen Service Award?

A: For the Outstanding Teen Award, there are many categories, and people from your school or your general community nominate you and you send in your resume. Then you go in for an interview and there are about 6 people (athletes and former athletes in my case) that you meet and they ask you questions such as "What inspires you?". Then after a few months you attend the awards ceremony at Hamilton Princess. Some of the things that they were impressed with were my enthusiasm for the sport, my ambitions and my academic achievements. I received a trophy and a monetary prize.

Q: Why did you choose SUNY Cortland and can you tell me more about the programs there, both academically and athletically?

A:  I originally was not interested in Cortland because I had never heard of it before. But then I stumbled upon their gymnastics team on YouTube. The year before last they had come first for NCAA D3 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. I even met someone who had transferred for second year because she didn't get in for freshmen year but really wanted to go to Cortland so applied again for second year and got in.

I liked how the campus was concentrated and so getting to classes would not be a commute and it would be hard to get lost.

There are also lots of things to do on campus: campus jobs, clubs, weekend ski trips or trips to NYC. Study abroad programs. I think that I would always be busy.

Cortland is an excellent school academically. It does research on education and psychology and I am interested in psychology.


The gymnastics training room is held in the stadium complex which is about a 5 min drive from the school. The stadium complex is really sophisticated with an ice arena, a football field, several multipurpose fields, an Olympic sized swimming pool, several basketball courts and a lot more. I first met the coach and he was really nice and really welcoming. He gave us a tour and talked about his gymnasts. Most of his gymnasts try out to represent the school in gymnastics meet against other schools. They train 3:30-6 Mon, Tue, Thurs and Friday. 9-12 on Saturday.

Q: What are you hoping to study at SUNY Cortland?

A: I want to study psychology and new media design. However I am open to try anything.

Q: What are your gymnastics goals going forward?

A: I hope to become a solid level 10 gymnast so that I can compete for Cortland and continue to represent Bermuda in international events like Commonwealth and World University Games and maybe even the Olympics.

Q: Talk about Island Games and what your hopes are for the team/how you plan to help them?

A: I want to help the team stay focused and realize their potential in order to shine at Island Games and show-off Bermuda to our visitors. 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.

Q: Who has inspired you throughout your gymnastics career and helped you achieve your goals?

A:  I cannot single out one person. My coaches, my fellow gymnasts and my family have all helped me to achieve my goals. They have shown me that I am so much better than I think I am, and can do so much better than I thought I could. Especially my coaches, who have revealed to me a whole world of opportunities that I did not even know were available to me.

Q: How has gymnastics help shape who you are and where your life is headed?

A: Gymnastics has taught me so much. It has taught me discipline and commitment which are essential things for the real world.

It has taught me how to be organized. Having been doing gymnastics and school at the same time, I have had to learn how to juggle both. You have to prioritize and focus on one thing at a time. It also taught me about sacrifice and that you have to do that sometimes in order to achieve what you want.

It has taught me how to just let go of your fears and concerns when you want to achieve something because taking risks is good. It has taught me that fear is your worst enemy and that it is the only thing keeping you away from your goal.

Being the oldest and team captain has also taught me how to be a leader, and a role model.

Also, working with kids has led me to want to pursue child psychology.

Q: What advice would you give to young gymnasts in Bermuda?

A: I advise that you stay focused. And keep your eye on the prize. That means not wasting time on frivolous things when you could focus on gymnastics and get better. That includes your fears. It's okay to be afraid. But you should not let your fear get the better of you. Your fears are your worst enemy. Your fears are the only thing standing between you and improvement.

Also be proud of who you are, where you come from, and your gymnastics. It will show when you compete and will make your performance better.

Finally, never settle. Always strive to improve and get better. Always keep moving forward. Gymnastics is unique in that you can never "finish" learning gymnastics. You can always improve and get better- there is always something to do. Take advantage of that. 



You must login to comment.

The Bermuda Sun bids farewell...

JUL 30, 2014: It marked the end of an era as our printers and collators produced the very last edition of the Bermuda Sun.



28 29 30 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31 1

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.