He also represents the CAVU Trampoline & Tumbling in New Jersey with renowned coach Roger Walker, and will showcase his outstanding talents internationally in the 29th Federation International Gymnastic (FIG) World Age Group competition on November 23-26, 2022, in Sofia, Bulgaria.
“I’m excited because this is something new to me and it’s going to be my first experience going outside the country,” said Carter, a 15-year-old junior at A Phillip Randolph High School. “I’m feeling pretty excited and I’m ready for it.”
This year Carter has performed extremely well in national competitions.
This past summer he finished runner-up in the junior division in tumbling during the 2022 USA Gymnastics Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. He also finished fourth and fifth in the tumbling junior division in the Elite Challenge in Irving, Texas and Winter Classic Invitational in Daytona Beach, Fla., respectively.
In June of 2021, he won the national championship in the male 15-and-over tumbling division at the USA Gymnastics Championships in St. Louis. In his first time competing in the national event, Carter out-performed 13 athletes in his division.
Please click HERE to see Carter perform during the 2022 USA Gymnastics Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Carter has been involved in tumbling since he was seven years old, working out at the Harlem Children’s Zone with USA Hall of Famer Wendy Hilliard and her Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation. Today, he primarily trains at CAVU with coach Walker, a former World Champion who began training the top WHGF athletes due to the COVID shutdown of the WHGF facility in Harlem.
What is the secret to his success?
“I practice four days out of the week (five during the summer),” Carter said. “So, for any younger people who want to do my sport or any sport in general, they just need to put their mind to it and never give up. You must keep on going, even through the hard times.
“You still have to push through and persevere.”
Currently, Wendy and her instructors provide gymnastics for over 350 children, ages of 3-17, per week at the Harlem Children Zone Armory.
“We are very excited for ZaQuae,” Wendy Hilliard said. “The partnership with the Harlem’s Children Zone has given us the opportunity to provide youth in our community to reach the highest level in gymnastics.
“ZaQuae is a great example of that. He’s worked very hard and is very talented. We’re excited for him to compete at the World Age Group championships in Bulgaria.”
On February 24-26 WHGF will host the Harlem Gymnastics Invitational at the Harlem Armory.
Last year WHGF in New York City celebrated its 25th anniversary. WHGF is headquartered in Harlem and has a location in Hilliard’s hometown of Detroit, which opened in 2016. Since its inception, WHGF has provided FREE and low-cost gymnastics to underserved communities, serving nearly 25,000 urban youth to date.
WENDY HILLIARD and WHGF
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Wendy started gymnastics at age 12. She trained through the Detroit Recreation Department with coaches from the former Soviet Union. She was the first Black athlete to represent the U.S. in international competition in rhythmic gymnastics and competed in three World Championships. In 2008 she was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Following her competitive and award-winning experience as a world-class athlete and coach, Wendy recognized the lack of gymnastic opportunities among urban youth, which inspired her to launch the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation in 1996 in Harlem, New York, and expanded to Detroit in 2016.
Today, the Foundation serves urban youth between the ages of 3 to 17, helping to improve their physical and mental health and providing various programs focused on Health & Nutrition, Sports Safety to Career Path Internships, Public Speaking, and NYC Public School Admission Assistance. At WHGF, young gymnasts learn about time management, responsibility, teamwork, leadership, and sustainable health habits.
Throughout the years, WHGF has developed elite athletes and competitive gymnasts who have gone onto the national and international stage. BJ Mensah, from Harlem, competed at the World Age Group Championships in Azerbaijan in 2021. Tenth grader Aries Wickham has become one of the country’s top young rhythmic gymnasts. In July 2022 she became the first Harlem athlete representing the United States in Israel at the Maccabiah Games, the renowned sporting event open to Jewish athletes from around the world, and to all Israeli citizens regardless of their religion. Current WHGF head coach Alexis Page was a three-time U.S. Rhythmic Gymnast National Team member and International Gold Medalist. Alexis Page joined the WHGF foundation in 2003, and by 2012, she started teaching to inspire the young gymnasts to chase after their dreams, as she did. In addition, Niahlah Hope trained at WHGF from 2002 to 2010 and is now a professional Hollywood stunt double, including in the film, Black Panther, while Olivia Boisson, trained on the WHGF rhythmic gymnast team and is now a professional dancer at New York City Ballet.
Photo credit: In June of 2022 at the USA Gymnastics Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, ZaQuae Carter earned a spot on the Junior National Team. Photo courtesy of WHGF