Inside Gymnastics Classic Athlete Spotlight: Kayla Smith

Inside Gymnastics Classic Spotlight: Kayla Smith

The inaugural Inside Gymnastics Classic kicked off in Richmond, Virginia January 26-28, 2024 with the goal of celebrating the sport and all of the talented athletes from all ages and levels, as well as inspiring the current and future generations of gymnasts. 

Inside Gymnastics is proud to recognize Kayla Smith, a Level 10 from Virginia International Gymnastics School (VIGS), for her incredible performance in Richmond, which earned her a $1,000 scholarship as the top Level 10 All-Around finisher. 

Kayla wowed us with her powerful tumbling (check out her huge double layout) and is certain to be a star when she heads off to West Virginia in 2026. 

Here’s what Kayla had to say about her performance at the Inside Gymnastics Classic and her future goals in the sport!

Congratulations on your incredible performance at the Inside Gymnastics Classic as well as receiving the scholarship at our inaugural event! How did it feel to receive that award? 

Even though it wasn’t my best meet, I was so thrilled to have had the top All-Around score and to have won the scholarship money. I was so thankful, especially because it was Inside Gymnastics first annual competition. That was really cool!

In addition to winning the All-Around, you won the vault, beam and floor titles as well! Did you do anything fun to celebrate your successful weekend? 

Well, as always, I had to buy an Inside Gymnastics sweatshirt! That’s how I usually celebrate a win! And since I had another meet to focus on for the following weekend, I kept my mind on what I needed to work on in the gym.

Your 2024 season is just getting started, what are your goals for the remainder of the season? 

So, I had a meet the week after the Inside Gymnastics competition and got my second 38.0 All-Around score as a level 10. So, my main goal is to keep that rhythm going and continue to build on that score. Specific goals I have for myself are to qualify and place at USAG DP Nationals.

We were so impressed by your double layout on floor — do you have any other big skills or upgrades you’re hoping to compete this season? 

Thanks! I am super proud of my double layout! It was a dream skill of mine to compete. I am really happy with my difficulty this year, as I have a 10.1 start value on beam and floor. I do hope to compete my Yurchenko 1 1/2 by next season! I am also working on connecting my front aerial to my handspring layout in competition to get a triple series on beam. 

You committed to West Virginia on a full athletic scholarship in November 2023 — what made WVU the best fit for you? 

Where do I start!? My official visit sold me! The campus was awesome and I loved the girls on the team! I really liked the gym and the amenities that are offered to the athletes, including academic support! And of course, the coaching staff is AMAZING! I really felt like it was going to be my home away from home. I can’t wait to be a Mountaineer! 

We’re so excited to continue following you throughout your career — what are some of the goals you have for yourself beyond 2024? 

Next year, I would love to qualify for the Nastia Cup! If it doesn’t happen this year, I would also love to win an event at Nationals. Honestly, my overall goal beyond 2024, is to just stay healthy and happy with my journey in gymnastics. My collegiate goals are to compete All-Around and to – of course – get a 10.0! And one day I would love to be a college gymnastics coach!

Fast Facts with Kayla!

  1. Gymnast you look up to: Haleigh Bryant!
  2. Favorite activity outside of gymnastics: Hanging with friends
  3. Pre-meet hype song: “So Ambitious” by Jay Z
  4. Favorite movie or book: Mean Girls (the original) and book: “Love and Other Words”
  5. Dream vacation spot: Turks and Caicos

Look for a feature on Kayla, as well as highlights from the Inside Gymnastics Classic in the March/April 2024 issue of Inside Gymnastics magazine. 

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