SHS student signs letter of intent for NCAA Division I college

SHS student signs letter of intent for NCAA Division I college

Years 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.

Baylor’s 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.”

As 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.

“I 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.

To 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.”

Even 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.

“Honestly, 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.”

Even 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.

“I have 14,800 followers on Instagram. It was a personal account and started posting my workout videos, my progress, and my tumbling videos,” Amrhein said.

She hopes her videos and challenges can inspire others.

“At 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 matter.