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Posted: July 13, 2013 9:00 p.m.

NCAA gymnast Jarrett flies high

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.

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