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Mitchell native and Arizona State University senior Amelia Rew performs a leap during a balance beam routine earlier this season at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz. (Steve Rodriguez/ Arizona State media relations.)

Rew embraces final weeks of career, prepares to compete in NCAA regional gymnastics meet Saturday

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For Amelia Rew, gymnastics is more than a sport. It's a lifestyle.

It has taught her how to be successful, come through adversity, work hard, deal with injuries, interact with people of all ages and perform under pressure.

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And after 17 years of being in the gym and going through ups and downs, her gymnastics career could come to a close this weekend.

Rew, a Mitchell native, and the Arizona State University gymnastics team are competing in the NCAA Division I West Regional Gymnastics Meet Saturday. The meet begins at 6 p.m. Central time in Corvallis, Ore.

The senior Sun Devil is ready for the next step in her life after gymnastics, but wants to embrace her final days in the gym.

"It's a weird feeling going into your last practice," said Rew, who's been going into the gym with her mom, Mitchell High School gymnastics coach Audra Rew, since she was 4 years old. "When you've done something since before you can remember, it's definitely something you can't plan for."

Rew, who won seven individual titles and helped lead the Mitchell Kernels gymnastics team to state championships in 2007 and 2008, has been able to enjoy her final season as she's been free of injury. But that hasn't always been the case.

After graduating from Mitchell a semester early, Rew jumped into competition at Arizona State and competed in the vault lineup the entire season. In her sophomore year, she competed on vault and balance beam before tearing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) three meets in, forcing her to watch from the sidelines the rest of the season.

As a junior, Rew competed primarily on the uneven bars but also competed twice on beam. Throughout that season, she was battling another knee injury and she again had to undergo surgery at the end of the season.

"(Gymnastics) takes a toll," she said. "It's tough on your body and there are a lot of sacrifices that go along with it. Lots of days you find yourself asking, 'Is this really worth it?' And at the end, it always is."

As a senior, Rew has become one of ASU's top bar workers and recorded a 9.85 -- her career high on the event -- on senior night against Bridgeport.

"This year I've had the most success because I've been healthy," she said. "As a team, we've really excelled as well."

The Sun Devils' best team score of the season was a 196.025, which came in their final home meet of the season March 15.

Arizona State, which finished eighth at the Pac-12 Championships March 23, is going into regionals as the 28th-ranked team in the country and is seeded fifth in the meet. The Sun Devils are competing against No. 4 Georgia, No. 10 Oregon State, No. 16 Arkansas, No. 21 Boise State and California. The top two teams from each of the country's six regions advance to the NCAA National Gymnastics Championships, which are April 19-21 in Los Angeles.

I'm ready to go out on a good note and have a good meet," Rew said.

Rew said being a part of Division I athletics has been a dream.

"The whole experience of being at the DI level and a part of a big university is really special," she said. "I wouldn't have traded it for the world."

After the conclusion of her career, Rew plans to continue her schooling. The biology major still has one semester to finish her bachelor's degree and will graduate in December. Rew also plans to apply for physician's assistant school next spring.

As far as gymnastics goes, she plans to be around the sport but not stay involved."I'll be in and out of the gym just to say 'Hi,' " she said.

Although Rew won't be in practice every day, she won't forget the experience and memories she's made.

"I love being a part of something that is bigger than you," Rew said. "The support and the bond I've made with my teammates through everything are going to be hard to leave behind. You have to walk away at some point, but I will always have that."

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Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.
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