Central Crossing High School sophomore Makayla Mattox decided in the fall that she needed a break from the demands of club gymnastics.

Central Crossing High School sophomore Makayla Mattox decided in the fall that she needed a break from the demands of club gymnastics.

But she wasn't finished with the sport. Less than a month later, Mattox started competing for the Comets.

"I've tried quitting gymnastics before, but I just couldn't do it," said Mattox, who also took a break last summer. "It's something I've done my whole life, so stopping is pretty hard."

Central Crossing assistant coach Brittany Maynard is glad Mattox decided to give high school gymnastics a try.

On Jan. 11, in her second meet with the team, Mattox won the vault (8.1), uneven bars (8.4), balance beam (8.7), floor exercise (9.1) and all-around (34.3) as the Comets finished second (120.35) behind Hilliard Bradley (127.575) and ahead of Hilliard Davidson (114.7), Westland (62.025) and Franklin Heights (56.725).

"She's been great," Maynard said. "She has a very positive attitude. Even when things don't go the way she wanted them to, she has a smile on her face and pushes through to the next event."

The Comets have gymnasts Josie Witteman and McKenna Logan to thank for getting Mattox, a Level 9 club gymnast, to join the squad. After the girls learned Mattox no longer was competing for her club, they began recruiting her for the Comets.

"A couple of girls on the high school team had tried to get me to do it in the past, but I was doing (club) gymnastics and I couldn't," Mattox said. "I figured I'd try it and see if I liked it."

"When she came out for the team, she was a little nervous at first. A lot of these girls have been friends for a long time, and she joined (after) the season (started)," Maynard said. "But the girls on the team welcomed her with open arms, especially after seeing her talent."

Mattox appears to be enjoying the more relaxed atmosphere of high school gymnastics.

"We all joke around, so it's been a lot of fun," she said. "As soon as I came on the team, everyone was very welcoming. Not one of them left me out of anything. They always included me."

Central Crossing, which hasn't competed since Jan. 11, has a meet Saturday, Jan. 28, at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheer.

Maynard said the team has used the time between meets to refine routines and add difficulty, and Mattox has been helpful in that process. Since several of the Comets are new to the sport, Mattox has been helping them work on skills in preparation for the OCC-Capital Division meet Feb. 11 at Dublin Coffman and the district meet Feb. 25 at Worthington Kilbourne.

"She's been a great role model for the rest of the team," Maynard said. "Her scores pushed the rest of the team to get better. They want to keep up with her."

"I've been doing this my whole life and a lot of these girls are just starting out this year," Mattox said. "I don't want to seem like a know-it-all, but I think they understand I'm trying to help them out."

Central Crossing hasn't had a gymnast advance to the state meet since 2008, when Katie Noojin competed in the all-around (36th, 32.275) as well as beam (29th, 8.225) and vault (15th, 8.925).

Mattox would like to halt that streak.

"What would make this the perfect season would be going and doing well at the state meet and taking some of my teammates with me," Mattox said. "I'm a competitive person, so I love trying to beat other people."