North Central teens Cassie Stevens, 15, and Quinn Smith, 14, both members of the Arizona Sunrays Gymnastics & Dance Center in Phoenix, recently competed in the prestigious Nastia Liukin Cup held in Newark, N.J. These gymnasts competed against 2,000 level 10 Junior Olympic gymnasts from across the United States to qualify for this event. Only 36 athletes qualify for the Nastia Liukin Cup each year.
This was Cassie’s third year qualifying and her first time in the senior age group. She finished 11th all-around in a very tough field. This was Quinn’s first time qualifying and she also finished 11th all-around and in second place on the vault in the junior age group.
Cassie and Quinn are both students at Sunnyslope High School. Cassie has verbally committed to a full athletic scholarship at Auburn University for 2019.
In addition, the Sunrays’ top Level 10 gymnastics team recently won the Junior Olympic Arizona State Championships. The competition was held in March at the Victorium Sports Complex in Scottsdale with approximately 80 Level 10 athletes competing. The gymnasts ranged in age from 12 to 18.
The Arizona Sunrays had 12 level 10 gymnasts compete including three athletes who are now ranked among the top 100 level 10s in the country, including Cassie and Quinn. Cassie won the all-around competition with an excellent score of 38.925 for the second year in a row. Quinn won her age group all-around as a first year level 10.
There are three high school seniors currently leading Arizona Sunrays’ level 10’s. They are: Tatum Bruden, who joins Cassie and Quinn in the top 100 level 10’s in the U.S. and who has committed to Boise State for next year; Nikki Duggan, committed to San Jose State; and Chloe Vitoff, committed to University of California Davis.
The Arizona Sunrays Gymnastics & Dance Center, co-owned by Julie and Dan Witenstein, is celebrating its 26th year in business. For more information, call 602-992-5790 or visit www.arizonasunrays.com.