Acrobat flips her way to college scholarship

An area girl is trading high school hallways for the tumbling floor. But it isn’t for gymnastics; she’s flipping her way in to a new, upcoming sport known as acrobatics and tumbling.

With her hard work and years of dedication, she’s got schools bending over backwards to get her on their tumbling teams. Madi Rushing is always pushing herself. 

She’s been training hard for years. She jokes that, at this point, it seems like her whole family is involved in the sport.

"I get home and it’s like ‘Oh! How’d your practice go? Do you have a video for me?’” Madi said.

But she has a second family, too. Her teammates are like siblings, and the gymnasts there joke her coach, Christy Kearns, is like a second mom.

"These kids I’ve had, mostly, well when they started walking they were able to come in and tumble," said Kearns.

In high school, Madi flipped to acrobatics and tumbling, a twist on traditional gymnastics using floor skills in a group.

"Not very many gymnasts get scholarships for gymnastics, so I’d say this sport opens up a lot more doors for gymnasts," Madi said.

In just a few months, her hands and feet will be flipping on a new floor as she takes an acrobatics scholarship.

Madi will take the floor at Fairmont State University in West Virginia in the fall, one of the few colleges in the country offering the new program.

But Kearns says Madi’s hard work won’t just pay off for her, but also for the other kids training. She says many will follow Madi’s lead into the sport.

"I foresee this getting bigger and bigger, which is exciting that she’s kind of on the forefront of this growing sport," Coach Christy said.

Even if she takes a tumble, Madi’s got plenty of support behind her, ready to back her up.

Fairmont State University, the school Madi will attend, is one of just 13 colleges across the country with a competitive acrobatics and tumbling program, according to USA Gymnastics.

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