One of the most exciting events of the year will unfold on Saturday, Feb. 26, at Worthington Kilbourne High School when the district gymnastics meet takes place. It is a showcase for talented athletes who combine mental toughness with physical strength and agility in an attempt to qualify for the state meet March 4-5 at Hilliard Bradley.

One of the most exciting events of the year will unfold on Saturday, Feb. 26, at Worthington Kilbourne High School when the district gymnastics meet takes place. It is a showcase for talented athletes who combine mental toughness with physical strength and agility in an attempt to qualify for the state meet March 4-5 at Hilliard Bradley.

As usual, central Ohio is blessed with some outstanding young gymnasts like freshmen Colleen McHugh of Olentangy and Becca Jaskot of Upper Arlington.

Sophomores Kate Miltko of DeSales and Amelia Holt of Centerburg have great credentials, as do junior standouts Erica Rodriguez of Worthington Kilbourne and Hannah Ruddle of Dublin Jerome.

Then there is the class of the senior class, Meghan Parsley of Hilliard Darby, who will try to earn a second consecutive trip to state.

"I really love competing at the district meet," Parsley said. "I truly enjoy being with all the best gymnasts in our area and I truly enjoy watching them compete. I feel very confident going into this competition.

"My mental attitude has certainly changed a lot since I was a freshman. I was always super hard on myself when I was younger and sometimes let mistakes get to me when I was competing. Now, I know you have to be totally focused on what you are doing, be yourself and overcome the ups and downs that happen when you are performing. That whole attitude has simply come through maturity."

Discussing the physical side of gymnastics, Parsley said, "I really love the difficulty of gymnastics. The sport is so hard and requires so much hard work. My goal is always to achieve perfection and I know I may never achieve that, but the drive to reach my goals hooks me every time.

"I have basically spent my entire life with this sport. My mom was a part owner of a gym when I was little and I started competitive gymnastics when I was in the fourth grade. I practice very, very hard and I believe I get the most out of my practices. I believe that, as a senior, I have the right attitude toward my sport. You absolutely cannot be hesitant. You have to constantly be aggressive and push yourself to succeed in learning new skills.

"My older sister, Amber, who is a gymnast at Ohio State, and my mom have been a great support system for me as I have developed. They both understand what I am going through and have constantly given me good advice. They have been great and the work ethic I have learned from them and from gymnastics has carried over into the other aspects of my life. Gymnastics has completely shaped my personality and has helped me with time management and organizational skills. Gymnastics has really made me who I am."

Looking at the district meet, Parsley said, "Wow, what competition there will be out there on Saturday. I think my experience and age will help me a little in that seniors are usually prepared for the pressures involved with this meet where, as a freshman, you can be harder on yourself and maybe stress over errors too much. But for me at the district meet, it is going to be very important that I have fun and enjoy the experience. It is my last year in high school and it is, conceivably, my last gymnastics meet, so I want to hit all my events and get back to the state championship meet."

Parsley sounds like a winner. Good luck to all of this week's competitors.

I'll see you at a meet.

Larry Larson is a former athletics director at Grandview High School. He can be heard as "Mr. High School Sports" on WTVN 610 AM.