of training, months of hard work, days of pushing herself, and hours of
time spent in the gym have culminated to this moment: Lexie Amrhein
signing a letter of intent to become the newest member of the Baylor
University Women’s Acrobatics and Tumbling team.
“Baylor just felt like home to me,” Amrhein said of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I school.
varsity sports program in acrobatics and tumbling is one of 13 programs
in the United States, and the program is the progression of gymnastics,
remaining separate from cheer and dance. Teams in acrobatics and
tumbling focus on tumbling, gymnastics, flying, pyramid, lifts and
tossing stunts and team members wear uniforms similar to volleyball
players. Last year, the Big 12 college won the national championship and
will host this year’s competition in April. Throughout the season,
Baylor competes against other teams in the National Collegiate
Acrobatics and Tumbling Association.
“Something told me to go to
this camp in Texas,” Amrhein said about how she found about the
acrobatics and tumbling program. “I saved up $1,000 to go. I went and
fell in love with acro.”
As a Baylor Bear, Amrhein will spend up
to 20 hours per week in training, perfecting her tumbling, gymnastics,
flying and pyramid abilities for competitions and tournaments. Spending
hours in the gym is nothing new for Amrhein as she grew up in a gym
atmosphere — her mother once owned a gym.
“She owned her own cheer
gym. I started tumbling out of the womb, I guess,” Amrhein said with a
laugh. “My mother was a cheerleader in high school. She started teaching
at age 11, so did I. I took tumbling classes at 3- or 4-years-old.”
she was growing up, Amrhein had several obstacles to overcome to become
stronger and the athlete she is today. One of those obstacles is her
severe asthma, which once left her hospitalized for one week.
run to bring up my air capacity. I do explosive training, where I run
for two and one-half minutes, then walk, then run, and walk,” Amrhein
said. “I always have an inhaler. I learned how to deal with it and
control my breathing.”
Another obstacle was her flexibility.
“I used to not be flexible,” Amrhein said.
improve, Amrhein and Savannah Smith, her friend and fellow SHS
cheerleading teammate, spent three hours every day during the summer
stretching and working to improve flexibility. When school started that
year, she spent one hour each day on it. Within six months, she was
doing a needle, which is where the person’s foot is above their head
without bending their knee.
For years, Amrhein spent hours in
cheer and gymnastics gyms working on tumbling and cheering. She was part
of many competitive cheer organizations, including several local gyms
and one in Louisville. She would travel one hour to and from practice to
Louisville in order to have opportunities to work with the United
States All Star Federation Hall of Fame coach, Debbie Love, who travels
the country providing education for athletes and coaches and has been
involved in the sport for more than 40 years.
“It was awesome to work with her,” Amrhein said. “I learned more bounding skills.”
with all the traveling and training, Amrhein said her most valuable
training came locally — from Jason Kendall, Scott County School District
2 board president and former University of Louisville cheerleader.
my biggest influence has been Jason Kendall,” Amrhein said. “He’s been
there for me through it all. He’s been a really great mentor. If it
wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I still do lessons with
him twice a week.”
Another influence in Amrhein’s life is Cindy Howser, SHS varsity cheerleading coach and owner of Indiana All-Stars.
“Cindy has been a second mom to me,” Amrhein said. “I wanted to cheer here because of her. And, I knew the girls here.”
though Amrhein’s SHS varsity season is over, she has not slowed down
with her training. She spends six days of the week lifting weights,
spends each night stretching, and spends each day tumbling. At
4-foot-10-inches tall, she can deadlift and squat 225 pounds, which is
more than twice her weight.
To show her progress and growth, she documented her journey on social media.
have 14,800 followers on Instagram. It was a personal account and
started posting my workout videos, my progress, and my tumbling videos,”
She hopes her videos and challenges can inspire others.
a young age, I knew I wanted to inspire people. If I inspire one
person, it’s good enough for me. It means a lot to me. That’s the whole
reason I started,” Amrhein said.
Amrhein’s endless dedication and
sacrifice to a sport she loves has inspired others online and has paid
off for her personally as she will be a member of the tumbling and
acrobatics team at Baylor University in the fall. At Scott County School
District 2, Amrhein’s story is our story. Your story matters. You