Olympic gymnastics hopeful Eaker signs with Utah

Kara Eaker signs with high school classmate and fellow gymnast Carley Scott

By Bill Althaus
Olympic gymnastics hopeful Kara Eaker, left, poses with Grain Valley High School classmate and gymnast Carley Scott, on National Signing Day at the high school. Eaker signed with Division I Utah while Scott signed with Division II Lindenwood University.

Two longtime friends who have spent more hours than they count in a gymnasium achieved their dreams Wednesday at Grain Valley High School.

Olympic gymnastics hopeful Kara Eaker and Carley Scott signed their national letters of intent. Eaker signed with the Division I University of Utah while Scott signed with Division II Lindenwood University.

“We’ve known each other forever,” Scott said after posing for some photos with Eaker. “I talk to my friend and other gymnasts and they ask, ‘Kara Eaker goes to your school and you know her?’ That’s pretty cool.”

Eaker smiled at the comment, adding, “We’re such good friends and it was special for me and my family to share National Signing Day with Carley and her family.”

Grain Valley activities director Brandon Hart introduced the two signees and congratulated them and their parents for all the support they have received over the years.

“With COVID, this is a very small event with family members on hand, and it is so important to have parents here at an occasion like this because we wouldn’t be having a signing day without all the time, effort and commitment parents have put into the success of these two young ladies. I know how proud you parents are of you and everyone at Grain Valley is proud, too. I just wish this could have been in our auditorium so everyone at the high school should have showed you how proud we all are.”

Eaker is a member of the United States National Team and on the fast track to represent the United States at the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo, which were originally scheduled for August but have been moved to 2021 because of the pandemic.

Olympic gymnastics hopeful Kara Eaker, a member of the United States National Team, front row, second from right, joins family members and Great American Gymnastics Express (GAGE) coaches at her National Signing Day ceremony at Grain Valley High School Wednesday. Joining Eaker, who signed with the University of Utah, are, front row, from left, GAGE coach Armine Barutyan, Kara's father Mark and mother Katherine; second row, from left, GAGE coach Al Fong and Kara's sister, Sarah.

“I’m so excited to sign with Utah today, but I will continue my training for the Olympics with Al (Fong) and Armine (Barutyan) at GAGE (Great American Gymnastics Express in Blue Springs) and then attend college after we see what happens with the Olympics in 2021,” Eaker said. 

“I’ve had a lot of great memories from gymnastics over the years, and I am so pleased that my parents (Mark and Katherine) and my sister (Sarah) could be here today and I could sign my letter along with Carley.

“This is another great memory that has happened because of gymnastics and all the hard work over the past years has all been worthwhile.”

Eaker starred at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships last August in Kansas City.

She earned their third consecutive spot on the United States national team and placed second to six-time U.S. champion Simone Biles on the beam.

“We will have Kara razor sharp for everything leading up to the Olympics,” said Fong, who attended the signing along with his wife, Barutyan.