Drew Moling's college decision came down to two Big Ten Conference schools - the one he has loved for years and the newest member of the conference.
Drew Moling's college decision came down to two Big Ten Conference schools — the one he has loved for years and the newest member of the conference.
Ohio State and Nebraska each offered a men's gymnastics scholarship to the Canal Winchester High School senior.
He chose the Buckeyes.
Moling, who recently signed his letter of intent with Ohio State, said there were a few reasons why he turned down Nebraska, which will begin competing in the Big Ten in the 2011-12 school year.
Nebraska doesn't offer his major, sport and leisure studies, and attending Ohio State means his parents, Kathy and Rick, can watch him compete. In addition, Moling has grown up watching the Buckeyes' gymnastics team, hoping one day he would get the opportunity to join it.
"I listened to my heart," he said of his college decision. "I was pretty much born a Buckeye and wanted to be a Buckeye."
Moling, 18, has been training with coach Mike Serra at Hocking Valley Gymnastics Center in Lancaster since he was 5 years old. Serra, an Ohio State gymnast in the mid to late 1980s, said Moling doesn't have any glaring weaknesses.
"He's a very hard worker and he's a good leader," Serra said. "I would say high bar, rings and pommel horse are his strongest events. However, he's a very solid all-arounder who doesn't have any bad events."
Moling narrowly missed out on the U.S. junior national team last August when he finished 10th in his division at the Visa Championships in Hartford, Conn. The top seven in the 16- to 18-year-old division qualified for the team, Serra said.
Earlier this month at the Pan American Gymnastics Union Club Cup in Guatemala, Moling captured the all-around title for the 15- to 18-year-old division.
"He's one of those guys who could be in the mix (for the Summer Olympics), but not for 2012, for 2016," Serra said. "That'd be right around his prime."
Moling said he prefers to focus on joining the Buckeyes. He wants to help Ohio State win its first NCAA men's gymnastics championship since 2001.
"Truthfully, I really don't think about (the Olympics) that much," he said.
His training regimen at Hocking Valley consists of four-hour sessions Monday through Saturday; he takes Sunday off. He was extremely busy during the fall, when he also played cornerback for the Canal Winchester football team.
"I had to go from school to football (practice) to gymnastics and then had to go home and do my homework," he said. "It was pretty rough, but I got through it.
"I'm really glad that I played football. I love football a lot, just as much as gymnastics. I'm glad I did it because I didn't want to have any regrets. I didn't want to look back and say, 'I wish I would have done this or done that.' I played for the love of the game."
Moling is staying humble about his gymnastics accomplishments.
"It feels really good because I know most people my age don't get the opportunity to get to do what I'm doing," he said. "I'm enjoying every part of it."