Kayla Gray an example on and off the mat
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 03:03
University of New Hampshire sophomore gymnast Kayla Gray has been named the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Gymnast of the Week, the league announced last Tuesday.
Gray set career highs on vault (9.725), floor exercise (9.875) and all-around (39.250). She matched her personal best uneven-bar score (9.800) and led the Wildcats to third place on balance beam (9.850) last Sunday afternoon at West Virginia’s Wendy M. Roach Invitational Quad Meet.
“Our team was extremely excited and prepared to compete against some of the top teams in the country at West Virginia,” Gray said. “And after we had a great start on beam, I just used the confidence and energy that my team and I were feeling as fuel to go big, do my best, and have so much fun.”
Saturday afternoon Gray tied her personal best on both the beams (9.900) and the floor (9.875). She also set her personal best on the bars (9.850).
Gray finished the meet in first-place with a 39.275 all-around score, earning a new all-around personal best. Her success earned her the Katie Baldwin Expression Award, named after a former UNH gymnast who passed away in 2000; it is awarded to a gymnast at each home meet who has a good performance and expresses the spirit and joy of Baldwin.
Gray began participating in vault two weeks ago. Currently, she competes in all four events. Her favorite event is the beam, which earned her a 9.900 career high.
“Kayla is relatively quiet, although a great leader, especially by example. She is a hard worker in every sense, inside and outside of gymnastics,” UNH assistant coach Jess Kelley said. Gray has been able to maintain a cumulative 3.97 GPA as an exercise science major.
“Gray is a positive role model. People on the team definitely look up to her,” Kelley said.
Kelley regarded Gray as a consistent gymnast throughout her experience on the UNH team. Although she has made improvements on the bars, as proven by setting her personal best on the bars this Saturday.
“Kayla is a very hard worker, but a quiet hard worker. She doesn’t draw attention to herself,” co-captain Courtney Connors said. “She doesn’t need attention to work hard.”
Gray followed in the footsteps of her older brother’s gymnastics career when she started at age three. Gray spent much of her youth at the gym with her mother, who is a conditioning coach.
“I stuck with it because it was fun, challenging and I liked performing for other people,” Gray said.
Gray has participated in the Junior Olympics three times. She received gold on beam her first time, and silver on beam her second and third time.
Gray committed to UNH gymnastics her junior year of high school. She was impressed by the coaches, the team atmosphere, the location and the size of the campus.
Considering Gray’s impressive career, it is unsurprising that her favorite quote is, “do what you love, love what you do.”