Gymnast from Valley Stream determined to lead Fisk University to national victory

Kaylai McDonald, 19, is a part of the first gymnastics team at HBCU Fisk University to compete at the NCAA level.

News 12 Staff

Mar 16, 2023, 1:29 PM

Updated 393 days ago

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An accomplished gymnast and Valley Stream native is hoping to lead her team at Fisk University to national victory.
Kaylai McDonald, 19, is a part of the first gymnastics team at HBCU Fisk University to compete at the NCAA level.
The gymnast got her start at Valley Stream South High School where she became captain of her team and the first person in Valley Stream gymnastics to ever make state competitions four years in a row.
Paige Franzini, her high school coach, says McDonald inspired other team members with her passion and determination.
“We still have girls on the team who saw what she accomplished and every year they're looking to do the same,” she said.
McDonald views gymnastics as much more than just exercise.
“You learn a lot of life lessons and discipline without even realizing it,” she said. “Every time you walk out somewhere, keep your head up.”
Milan Morris, her teammate in high school, continues to be proud of her accomplishments.
Morris says when the two of them were growing up, there were not many Black gymnasts around.
“There's just very few people that look like you,” she said. “It's so nice to have other people with you who look like you doing it.”
Now McDonald is determined to make it to national victory with her team.
“As a team, I hope we get to the NCAA level and that we get to go to nationals,” she said.


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