Sports Spotlight - Greenville’s Lawrence proves hard work pays off as she earns spot at division-I Kentucky

Kaila Lawrence signed NLI this week
Sports Spotlight - Greenville’s Lawrence proves hard work pays off as she signs with Kentucky
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 6:06 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - J.H. Rose does not have a varsity gymnastics team. But they do have a student who is one of the best gymnasts around.

Senior Kaila Lawrence practices twice a day at Rose’s Gymnastics Training Center in Greenville. Hard work which has paid off big time.

We feature Kaila in this week’s Pepsi Sports Spotlight.

“When I was like three I was always flipping off the couches, the walls and stuff,” says gymnast Kaila Lawrence, “So, my parents were like lets put you in a safe environment to do that.”

J.H. Rose senior Kaila Lawrence has grown with her sport.

“It hasn’t been easy, but it has always been fun, I guess you could say,” says Lawrence, “Knowing your true love for the sport even when it is hard or when you are injured.”

She suffered a severe back injury in 2015.

“Spondylosis. It wasn’t enough to hit a nerve or anything,” Kaila says, “It was pretty serious I couldn’t really practices.”

She was able to recover.

“She came in first place all-around in regionals. She went to nationals that year as well in level 9,” says Kaila’s coach and Director of Rose’s Gymnastics Training Center Jennifer Rainsberger.

“I kind of just stayed focused on what I was doing and not really focusing on what anyone else was doing,” says Lawrence.

And she reached level 10, the highest level of USA Gymnastics, for the past four seasons.

“Not that many athletes get to that level. Not just because of the physical demands but also the emotional and the time demands that it takes,” says Rainsberger, “She is a stellar girl. Unbelievable. So dedicated to gymnastics.”

“Hard work, determination, a lot of time. I’m here a lot,” says Lawrence, “At least 20 hours a week.”

Lawrence pursued college gymnastics with the same tenacity. After reaching out to Kentucky, she stuck her landing.

“I got there and I was like I couldn’t be any other place,” Kaila says, “I don’t think any other place would top it.”

Kaila signed her National Letter of Intent with Kentucky this week.

“It still all feels surreal because it is a top school in the SEC for both gymnastics and academics,” says Lawrence.

She has one more season locally and hopes to make the national championships this spring in level 10.

“She is a very high character, a leader in school, and she is just very high achieving everywhere,” says Rainsberger, “She is going to leave a huge void when she leaves the gym.”

Kaila will join a former Greenville teammate at Kentucky. Wildcats junior Bailey Bunn also trained at Rose’s Gymnastics and will have one season with Lawrence once she gets there.

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