Brianna Greenlow was mad, nervous and, most of all, tired. So after enduring an overnight drive back from Florida straight to the GHSA gymnastics prelims at Dunwoody High School, the Lambert junior took a nap, right there on the mat.
And after she woke up — with a start, because it was time to warm up — Greenlow got back to performing in the way that’s made her one of the best gymnasts in the state and the choice for All-FCN Gymnast of the Year.
Greenlow, a William & Mary commit, didn’t let her fatigue slow her down at prelims, finishing with an all-around score of 38.300, second only to Savannah Schoenherr of North Oconee. And while Greenlow couldn’t best Schoenherr at the state meet, again finishing second, she bested her prelims score with a 38.525.
The thrill of competition and the pride of competing for her school were things Greenlow expended considerable energy and stress over during the past year.
Firstly, she wasn’t certain that she would even be able to compete for Lambert in the postseason. The state prelims were set for the same weekend as the USAG level 9-10 regional meet in Bradenton, Florida. If Greenlow wanted to compete in both events, she would have to perform both on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
She was already leaning towards making the trip back. Missing her freshman season after breaking both of her feet made Greenlow value her remaining years that much more, and she wanted to be there to help the team on its attempt to get back to the state championship meet.
But on the floor routine, Greenlow’s last routine at the regional meet, she fell, costing her a potential berth on the Junior Olympic National Championships, which Greenlow had made her sophomore year. In the earliest hours of the morning, Greenlow texted her teammates to let them know she was coming back, and then she got on the road with her family.
The ride back was a restless one. She kept thinking back to her disappointing performance at regionals, and she worried about the risks of competing while sleep-deprived, especially in a high school meet. Greenlow’s club coach had already tried to get her out of scholastic competition after she got hurt as a freshman.
“I was like, ‘Dear God, if I get hurt, it’s over,’” Greenlow said. “‘I’m going to get murdered at (club) practice.’”
To take up time when she couldn’t sleep, Greenlow stretched in the back seat. As tough and tiring as the season was at that point, she kept going.
“You train your whole life for this,” Greenlow said. “So if it’s one day of four hours of sleep, you’ll be okay.”