By Sheri Duff
Grace Carey is driven. Among other accolades, Champlain Valley Union (CVU) head gymnastics coach Bob Abbott shares that “Although I’ve only known Grace for a little over a month she is a very strong and driven gymnast. She is also one of three captains for the CVU gymnastics team. As a first year coach, it’s nice to rely upon Grace to overview the program in years past,” he commented. “The strength and confidence of the team has much to do with those strengths of Grace and the other two captains.”
Born on Dec. 13, 1994 Carey has lived in Shelburne her entire life. Her family includes parents, Kathleen and Kevin, older sister Allison, a sophomore at UVM, younger brother Thomas, an 8th grader at the Shelburne Community School, and a yellow lab named Kiah.
Carey began her gymnastics career at Gymstar Gymnastics in Shelburne. “I started gymnastics in the fifth grade. That’s late compared to most,” she explained. “Before that I was involved in figure skating but a lot of my friends were doing gymnastics. They were my biggest reason to start a new sport.” It soon became evident that Carey needed more training than the local gym could provide. Within the year she changed gyms to compete with Green Mountain Gymnastics team through her sophomore year at CVU.
Carey’s strengths as captain are to motivate and support, “I listen and give advice when people need support. I know all of the gymnastic requirements and I motivate everyone on the team to do well.” Coach Abbott would add, “As a captain of the varsity team, Grace’s leadership skills bring a wave of confidence for the entire team. She is well respected and highly looked upon by the younger student-athletes.”
“My favorite gymnastic event is bars,” Carey said in response to a question. “But I also compete on the beam and floor but rarely, if ever, compete on vault due to repeated ankle injuries,” she commented. She admits to a simple pre-meet ritual. “First I really try to slow down. Then I go over my routine in my head so I don’t get as nervous.”
Her greatest achievement is “getting up every time I fall down,” she informed. “I know that sounds like a cliché but I was told to give up gymnastics many times. I’ve had numerous ankle injuries. Even my doctor told me I wasn’t built for the sport,” she said. “It was my decision to continue and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been a blast.”
In addition to gymnastics Carey is involved in National Honor Society and is gainfully employed as a gymnastics coach at Gymstar and as a hostess at La Villa Bistro.
What’s next for this CVU senior? Carey is “simply” waiting to hear from the highly competitive colleges to which she applied. The colleges include the University of Michigan, Boston College, The University of Virginia, and Tufts, just to name a few. At present she is interested in becoming an orthopedic surgeon, in part, because of her injuries and also because she finds the human body fascinating. “Everything in the human body is related and intertwined. Basically I’m a science nerd,” she shared. If Carey’s college experience is anything like her high school gymnastic days, it should be a couple of challenging routines and a highly successful four years.