Mitchell natives Cersosimo, Rew are two of three South Dakota gymnasts competing at DI levelMitchell natives Brooke Cersosimo and Amelia Rew feel extremely fortunate for their gymnastics scholarships.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Mitchell natives Brooke Cersosimo and Amelia Rew feel extremely fortunate for their gymnastics scholarships.
Cersosimo, a senior at Southern Utah, and Rew, a junior at Arizona State, are on NCAA Division I full-ride scholarships. They’re two of three South Dakota gymnasts competing at the highest collegiate level of athletics. The third South Dakota gymnast is Sioux Falls native Jordan Eszlinger, a senior at the University of Iowa.
All three South Dakota gymnasts know how difficult it is to get a scholarship.
College scholarships can be worth anywhere from $100,000 to $170,000, said Andrea Barnes, who’s set up a how-to guide for gymnastics recruiting based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“Most of the girls have been doing gymnastics since they were 5, so they have something that’s very valuable,” Barnes said. “Teams are looking for people who can get the full value for their routines. They want gymnasts who can help them score the maximum during a meet.”
At the Division I level, gymnastics is considered a head-count sport where scholarships are given as full rides, and not broken up into partials like many other sports. There are 55 Division I gymnastics teams in the nation that give out athletic scholarships, and each team gets about three scholarships on average per year to continuously build its roster.
That means in Division I, a gymnast’s talent must be worth the money.
“Considering there are about 150 gymnastics scholarships given out a year across the country, and there are three South Dakota girls competing and two are from Mitchell, that’s really exciting,” said Mitchell High School gymnastics coach Audra Rew, who coached Cersosimo and Rew in club and high school competition. “I think it’s absolutely unbelievable that we have two girls from Mitchell competing in Division I.”
Cersosimo is wrapping up her gymnastics career today at the Western Athletic Conference championship in Logan, Utah.
She walked on to the SUU gymnastics team in her freshman year and has received scholarships each year since. This weekend, she’ll be competing in vault, bars and beam at the conference meet.
Cersosimo is the defending WAC champion on the beam, and she has no regrets about what she’s accomplished in her gymnastics career.
“It says something about gymnastics in our town and especially in our state where gymnastics isn’t that big,” Cersosimo said of feeling fortunate to have earned scholarships in the sport.
Amelia Rew will also be competing with her team at a conference meet today. The Sun Devils will be at the PAC-12 Conference championships in Salt Lake City, Utah. She said it wasn’t until her sophomore year of high school when she buckled down to go after a Division I gymnastic scholarship.
“When I was really young, you don’t really understand, and you just do gymnastics because it’s fun,” said Rew, who will be competing on the bars and beam at today’s meet. “… Eventually, I started training hard and making contacts and learned what it takes to get to that next level.”
Cersosimo and Rew were teammates when Mitchell High School won back-to-back state championships in 2007 and 2008.
Cersosimo, who graduated two years prior to Rew, won 12 state championships at the high school level, one shy of the state record. In 2007, Cersosimo scored a 39.17 in the all-around, which is a state record. Rew won seven state titles, including five in her junior year, also a state record.
They both credit their work in their early years as to why they’ve progressed to Division I athletics.
Audra Rew said she started MEGA Gymnastics — a club gymnastics team in Mitchell — in 2005 to help Cersosimo, Rew and other young gymnasts work on new skills and work toward getting ready for college gymnastics.
“We were really close growing up,” Amelia Rew said. “We really pushed each other and we were always right there with each other.
“Of course, with her being older, I watched her go through the process and do D-I gymnastics, which made me want to do it even more.”
Rew and the Sun Devils will compete at the regional meet on April 7. If the team finishes in the top two at regions, it qualifies for the national meet.
“We’re looking to finish out this year strong,” she said. “It’s kind of crazy to think it’s coming to an end with next year being my senior year. I can’t imagine my life without gymnastics.”
Southern Utah did not qualify for the region meet this year, so Cersosimo knows her last chance to shine is today at the conference meet. She said she’s been fighting injuries this year and will have surgery on her elbow Wednesday.
“It’s kind of nice, because my body is kind of working against me,” Cersosimo said. “I’m ready for the next part of my life.”