Arizona Sunrays’ Jade Carey advanced to the individual finals in the vault and the floor routine, after scoring top two in both events during the Summer Olympics.
Carey, who is competing as an individual instead of with Team USA, will join Simone Biles in both events. The vault competition is Aug. 1, with the floor routine following the next day.
“We will be all eyes and ears watching and cheering on Jade,” said Kenzie Gassaway, Sunrays’ general manager.
At the qualifier for the floor routine on July 25, Carey scored a 14.100, just 0.033 points behind gymnastics phenom Biles. Along with her floor routine, she scored 15.166 in the vault, which netted Carey her second individual finals spot.
A Mountain Ridge High School graduate, Carey has been training with the Sunrays for several years. Although she did not start her gymnastics career with the Sunrays, she has made the most of the situation, taking her talents to the biggest stage in gymnastics.
“It’s difficult to put into words,” Gassaway said about Carey being in the Olympics.
“It’s inspirational to watch her train, but watching all the other young children look up to her and what she is accomplishing is a pretty cool thing.”
Along with Carey, the Sunrays sent another gymnast to the Olympic trials. Riley McCusker, 19, was also present in St. Louis, representing the Sunrays in the trials.
“It is such a privilege to be their supporters and have such a rally of people behind them,” Gassaway said. “It’s great to have support from the community. It’s great to have support from our athletes and their families. They receive letters from the community and around the country of other little girls looking up to them.”
Arizona Sunrays is a long-standing activity center for children, with a well-known gymnastics program. It provides a variety of services and activities for Arizona children.
One of Arizona Sunrays’ most anticipated events is NinjaZone, a summer activities program for boys and girls ranging from 18 months to 12 years old. It includes elements of parkour and obstacle work. Keeping in form with what it does best, NinjaZone also includes elements of gymnastics.
Arizona Sunrays has a sampler series, too, dubbed Supercamp, which gives kids experiences with dance, gymnastics, elements of NinjaZone, trampoline work and water games. Supercamp also comes with a weekly theme to help spice up the program and get children more involved in the activities.
But as summer ends, Arizona Sunrays will move into the school year, where it holds its Sunrays Academy, for which 25 gymnasts train at a high level. In addition to the training, the gymnasts attend school at Sunrays with a teacher and coursework that allows ample time for learning and training.
“The Sunrays are really proud of the 30 years and the opportunity we’ve had to connect with so many kids and so many families,” Gassaway said. “One of our biggest points of pride is that those relationships, they last.”