NCAA gym­nast Jar­rett fly­ing high

The Covington News - - SPORTS - JAVON DICK­ER­SON bfazio@cov­news.com

Trent Jar­rett went down a path few men travel.

He wanted to be an ath­lete, but didn’t know what sport would fit him, and give him the mo­ti­va­tion and willpower to suc­ceed. He fi­nally came to a con­clu­sion and the re­sult wasn’t bas­ket­ball, base­ball, football or hockey. It was gym­nas­tics.

Jar­rett picked up gym­nas­tics at a very young age.

“He very first started at 18 months old, and has never stopped since.” Trent’s mother Karren Jar­rett said. “He started com­pet­ing at age 8, in the third grade.”

Trent, the grand­son of Cony­ers’ Ge­orge and Dotty Schath, tried to pur­sue other sports as a young child.

But he couldn’t suc­ceed in those other sports be­cause of a lack of hear­ing in his right ear.

“His hear­ing al­ways made it hard to hear on a big field,” Karren Jar­rett said. “He would hear a whis­tle and wouldn’t al­ways know where it was com­ing from.”

As time went on, Trent started get­ting more fo­cused and de­ter­mined in gym­nas­tics.

When he was in mid­dle school, his fam­ily knew that he had some­thing spe­cial. His tal­ents re­ally started to show in sev­enth grade, when dif­fer­ent coaches started to re­al­ize his tal­ent.

“The older I got, the more I fell in love with it, and the more I wanted to get bet­ter,'' he said.

Jar­rett even­tu­ally chose to com­pete at the At­lanta School of Gym­nas­tics. He also com­peted for Roswell Gym­nas­tics.

He won many events through­out high school, and in his se­nior year, he was an all-around state cham­pion.

But in win­ning the state cham­pi­onship his se­nior year, Jar­rett en­coun­tered some­thing that would change his life: ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain in his shoul­ders.

Though he had to deal with it all sea­son, he com­peted and won big.

“It was a re­ally rough sea­son, but some­how I pulled it out.” he said.

Jar­rett had ac­cepted an of­fer to join the Univer­sity of Illi­nois team, but then, it ran out of slots. He would go on to ac­cept an of­fer from the Univer­sity of Iowa.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Mill Creek High School, he went off to Iowa with his trou­bling shoul­ders.

“My shoul­ders weren’t get­ting bet­ter,” said Jar­rett. “The sum­mer be­fore Iowa, it was bad pain.”

His dream was to be able to com­plete on the col­lege level in gym­nas­tics, and he had a chance to ac­com­plish that. But, things didn't go as well as he'd hoped. His shoul­ders con­tin­ued get­ting worse and he couldn’t im­press the Iowa coaches enough. He was even­tu­ally cut from the team.

“It was a shock,” said Jar­rett. “I wouldn’t say I was sur­prised be­cause I al­ways had some­thing telling me in the back of my head but it was still a shock, and it re­ally hurt.”

This was a low point in Jar­rett's life. He stated in an ar­ti­cle, for North Ge­or­gia News that he had given up on gym­nas­tics.

But, his dad Scott Jar­rett did not. He worked to find other pro­grams that were in­ter­ested in his son.

Coach Charley Nel­son re­sponded to his e-mail and stated that there was a spot for Trent at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois at Chicago. He was ex­cited about the op­por­tu­nity to com­pete again.

How­ever, he took some time off. He went back home to treat his shoul­ders and to take a break from gym­nas­tics.

Jar­rett said he needed to find him­self and to rekin­dle the fire that he had in his heart for gym­nas­tics. Dur­ing that time off, he was able to re­hab his shoul­ders, and he worked hard to be­come bet­ter at his sport.

“Hon­estly, I felt I needed it. I re­ally did.” said Jar­rett.

Af­ter he was ac­cepted at UIC, he went to Chicago and was ready and mo­ti­vated. He was fo­cused on the chal­lenges ahead, he said.

The sea­son was dif­fi­cult for Jar­rett and his team­mates, but they made it to the Eastern Col­le­giate Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Cham­pi­onship.

Jar­rett said he and his team­mates were zoned in, ea­ger to qual­ify for na­tion­als. They worked hard all year for that mo­ment.

Un­de­ni­ably, they were able to qual­ify for the NCCA National Cham­pi­onship, with Jar­rett him­self qual­i­fy­ing for the rings event.

The rings are his spe­cialty. He has had the most suc­cess in that event.

“All the coaches who over­looked me, they saw that I made it there by my­self,” said Jar­rett.

“It showed me that now you have some­thing in this sport; you just need to trust your­self and keep mov­ing for­ward.”

Jar­rett is pleased that he was able to over­come so many ob­sta­cles. He is look­ing to­ward a bright fu­ture in gym­nas­tics.

Sub­mit­ted photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

Trent Jar­rett, grand­son of Rock­dale res­i­dents Ge­orge and Dotty Schath, qual­i­fied for the NCAA National Cham­pi­onship in the rings event at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois.

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