It is fitting that the final meet of Baely Rowe's career as a Utah gymnast is on the biggest stage at the Super Six (tonight at 7:00 p.m. MT on ESPNU). Rowe has been a member of the team for all three Pac-12 championships. She was on the team when Utah finished second at the NCAA Championship in 2015. A four-time All-American, the Federal Way, Wash. native has accomplished a lot in her Utah career. Her moonwalk to Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” on the balance beam is a classic moment. She will compete today for the last time as a Utah Red Rock.
“Right now I am just trying to enjoy everything, this last week of practice with all the girls and things like that. This season I have accomplished so much, and this team has accomplished so much. Going into this meet, I just want to go out there and have fun, whatever happens happens. because I am so happy with how this year has gone, how my career has been. I am mostly impressed with how our team has handled a lot different things that have happened this season. They have come out on top and we have come out on top. It has just been so amazing to be a part such a great program and team this year,” said Rowe.
Rowe has grown a lot since joining the Utah gymnastics team in 2014. She cracked the beam lineup as a freshman and was competing in the all-around as a sophomore in 2015. She was also named the Coaches' Award for Most Improved Gymnast as a sophomore in 2015. As the lone senior on the team, she was one of the leaders of the young Red Rocks team this year.
“It is crazy. Coming in freshman year it was different because I was a newbie. I didn’t know what to expect. I kind of looked up to the older girls to kind of see what they did. Now looking back at it three years into it, we as a team and her we have grown so much. I just look back at freshman year I am like ‘what was I thinking.’ Watching her grow in the three years I have seen her has been awesome. THere is no better way to watch someone in Utah gymnastics grow as much as she has. I hope when I am a senior, and I am going to be a super senior when people call me a senior, that people can say that about me too,” said sophomore Kari Lee.
In her final year, Rowe just wanted to try to enjoy the sport she loves and take in all the wonderful memories. She accomplished a lot as a senior and surely made many new memories that will last her a lifetime.
“I really just wanted to have a year that I just enjoyed the sport that I love and enjoy the moments that I have with this team. That is exactly what I have done. I have had a lot of accomplishments and a lot of support. I am happy and honored to be a part of that. As a team, we have accomplished so much,” said Rowe.
Rowe also said winning the Pac-12 Championship and advancing to the Super Six were two of the team goals for this season. The team has accomplished both of those feats and will try today to bring the 11th national championship to Utah.
“It has been fun to watch her career. She came in as a lone freshman. She is now a lone senior. It is not an easy task either year. To her credit, after a bit of a bumpy road her freshman year, she made a decision to come back with a vengeance her sophomore year. She has really made a statement since that point. She has been in our all-around all the way through. She is a competitor. Her best work is on the competitive floor. She has learned also to train and be prepared. You put those two things together somebody who is a game-time girl who is ready to do it in the decisive moment when all the fans and judges are there, and you have her prepared, and she has worked hard, then those are champions. I feel like Baely is going to go down in our stat books as one of our best. She has a lot of All-American honors and is consistently competing in the all-around,” said co-head coach Megan Marsden.
While she may not be competing next year, Rowe will still be around the program next season. Since she is the lone senior, she was the obvious choice to serve as student coach next year. She will be following in the footsteps of former teammates Georgia Dabritz and Breanna Hughes. Rowe will also use the final year to finish her degree in communication and prepare for life after college.
“I am really excited to be a student coach next year. I still get to stay with the girls to help them out through anything and everything,” said Rowe. “Other goals are to finish out school and maybe get some internships in whatever I want to pursue.”
Lee, who has been teammates with Rowe for three years, weighed in on what it will mean to have her around for one more year with the team as a student coach.
“It is always fun to have past teammates come and stay with the program an extra year like [Breanna Hughes] and Georgia [Dabritz] it is always fun to watch them and to see how they adapt to life after gymnastics. It is a good balance I think because they are still in the gym with us but not quite doing the gymnastics. I feel like it is interesting to watch them grow in life after gymnastics because that is all we know, gymnastics, gymnastics, gymnastics,” said Lee.
Rowe epitomizes what it means to be a Utah gymnast. She strives everyday to be excellent in the sport she loves, all the while learning and growing as a person. This program with over 40 years of history molds these gymnasts into wonderful people who are ready to enter the real world when they leave, and Rowe is a perfect example of that.