2011-03-17 / Sports

Carto always on the beam for George Washington U.

BY DAN NILSEN 810-452-2655 

Kayla Carto has been totally focused on her career in gymnastics since age six. 
Photo courtesy George Washington University Kayla Carto has been totally focused on her career in gymnastics since age six. Photo courtesy George Washington University WASHINGTON, D.C. — Perhaps more than many other sports, gymnastics requires total concentration and pinpoint execution. There’s little room for error, and perfection is always the goal.

That’s exactly what draws Kayla Carto to the sport.

The 2008 Davison graduate has been devoted to gymnastics since age six, when she began a 12-year career with the AGA club in Flint, and her dedication has carried her to Div. I collegiate competition at George Washington University.

Now in her second year at the university, Carto continues to sharpen her skills and excel in a most demanding endeavor.

“I like the pressure that comes with it, and all the determination,” Carto said last week before a meet against Maryland. “It pushes me to do what I think I can’t do, and once I succeed to that point, it feels really good to get that done.”

Carto is one of the top performers on a young George Washington roster, having qualified for the NCAA Regionals as a freshman last year. She competed in 14 meets and posted then-career highs of 9.75 on the vault, 9.7 on the uneven bars, 9.75 on the beam, 9.725 on the floor exercise and 38.7 all-around. She finished her freshman year ranked 12th in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League in the allaround, averaging 37.804, and was named Second-Team All-Tournament for both the beam and all-around.

This year, she has bumped up her career highs in the bars to 9.75, floor ex to 9.775 and all-around to 38.875 — all of those marks coming in a March 4 meet at Kentucky. Her allaround score ranks second on the team this season behind senior Leslie Delima.

“She’s very determined, with an ability to stay focused under any circumstances, which is huge for gymnastics,” said 26th-year George Washington coach Margie Foster- Cunningham. “Her work ethic is incredible, she continues to grow, and that combination of factors is proving to be a good formula for success for her.”

Carto is on track to qualify again for the NCAA Regionals, which will be determined in Saturday’s EAGL Championships at George Washington. But she’d like a lot more company this time.

“Last year I didn’t know what to expect, and making the NCAA Regionals was a big deal,” she said. “The next couple of years I want to be part of guiding my team into the NCAA Regionals and then be successful there.”

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