In the heat of competition, Olivia Dieckmann embraces the solitary nature of her chosen sports.
The Olentangy Orange High School sophomore focuses on the task at hand and gives her best effort, whether she's running cross country in the fall, competing in gymnastics in the winter or participating in the pole vault during track and field in the spring.
Dieckmann also loves how her performances impact her teams even though she's competing as an individual.
"You are out there by yourself when you are competing in all (three sports), but what you do still has an impact on how the team does," Dieckmann said. "When you are running a race you feel alone, but you know that your score is going toward the greater picture."
Dieckmann is one of the leaders for the gymnastics team, which is second (3-1) in the OCC-Buckeye Division behind Olentangy (4-0) heading into the league meet Saturday, Feb. 10, at Hilliard Davidson.
Although she's not a competitor in a traditional team sport, coach Jen Hedrick said Dieckmann thrives in the Pioneers' team atmosphere.
"Olivia is a natural athlete and one who is coachable," Hedrick said. "She is a great team leader and helps the underclassmen and the other gymnasts when they need help with their choreography or working on their skills."
Dieckmann said her sports have a similar mentality in terms of endurance and pushing yourself.
"In the summer before my freshman year, I decided to run cross country and I never had run more than a mile before that," she said. "It was something new I wanted to try. I made a lot of good friends there and I liked it a lot.
"Endurance-wise and mentally, running and gymnastics are a lot the same. The mental part is the toughest. If you keep falling (in gymnastics) and you can't get (a skill), you can block yourself from it and it's hard to overcome that. You have to keep working through it."
Falling is part of gymnastics, and conquering that fear also aids a pole-vaulter who is soaring toward the bar.
"The pole vault and gymnastics kind of help each other," Dieckmann said. "The fear of pole-vaulting isn't really there because of gymnastics. You fall all of the time in gymnastics, so you get over it."
In the seven-team Westerville Central Warhawk Invitational on Jan. 26 at Worthington Youth Boosters Gymnastics, Orange finished second (127.3 points) behind Thorn-ville Sheridan (138.75). Dieckmann was fifth on vault (8.2) and 10th on uneven bars (7.2).
"Olivia helps us significantly on the bars, and she is a good all-around gymnast," Hedrick said. "What she does well on one day might not be her best on another. She is good at all of them.
"She also has a great work ethic, integrity and desire. She is intrinsically motivated and has desire to do the best she can."
Dieckmann has been competing in gymnastics since she was 6 years old. After several years of club gymnastics, she likes the camaraderie of the sport in high school.
"I like high school (gymnastics) because the people go to your school, you have the same homework and everything and then you get to be together at practice," she said. "Club is not like that because I go there with girls from several districts. I like having some common ground.
"We're like family here and they are pretty much my best friends. That's what I like about it."
Hockey team to play in consolation bracket
The hockey team will compete in the consolation bracket of the Blue Jackets Cup this weekend.
The Pioneers are 16-14-1 overall and finished fourth in the CHC-White (13 points, 6-9-1) behind Cincinnati Moeller (25, 12-3-0-1), Olentangy (20, 10-6) and Springboro (16, 7-7-1-1) and ahead of Dublin Coffman (8, 3-11-0-2).
Orange is seeded 10th for the Blue Jackets Cup and opens at 6:20 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, against 11th-seeded Coffman at OhioHealth Ice Haus. The Pioneers won both league meetings this season, 5-2 on Dec. 10 and 3-0 on Dec. 16.
The winner plays 12th-seeded DeSales or 13th-seeded Thomas Worthington in a semifinal at 2:50 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Ice Haus. Orange defeated Thomas 8-2 on Jan. 20 and DeSales 5-1 on Jan. 28.
The championship game is at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at the Ice Haus against ninth-seeded New Albany, 14th-seeded Gahanna or 15th-seed Dublin Scioto.
The Pioneers closed the regular season with a 3-0 loss to Upper Arlington on Feb. 4. Goaltender Ian Cozby had 18 saves.
Girls team seeded 38th in district
The girls basketball team is seeded 38th for the Division I district tournament and plays a first-round game Feb. 17 at eighth-seeded Hartley.
The Pioneers were 5-15 overall before playing Franklin Heights on Feb. 6.
McKenna Ford scored a career-high 21 points with five 3-pointers as Orange defeated Licking Heights 54-41 on Jan. 30. Anna Grabau had 15 points and Alyssa Feeley added 10.
The Pioneers lost to Westerville South 51-21 on Feb. 2 to fall to 0-9 in the OCC-Buckeye.
Below are the coming schedules for the Orange boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics and hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 9 -- At Olentangy. The Pioneers lost to the Braves 75-74 in overtime Jan. 5.
Feb. 13 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto
*Feb. 9 -- Home vs. Olentangy. The Pioneers lost to the Braves 56-50 on Jan. 5.
Feb. 10 -- COHSBC tournament at Game of Western Columbus
Feb. 10 -- OCC-Buckeye meet at Hilliard Davidson
Feb. 13 -- At Hilliard Darby with Big Walnut, Davidson and Hilliard Bradley
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 10 -- Division I sectional swimming meet at Kenyon College. The winner of each event automatically qualifies for district Feb. 17 at Ohio University. In addition, 27 at-large district berths will be awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.
Feb. 12 -- Division I district girls diving meet at Dublin Community Recreation Center. The top four finishers advance to state Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Feb. 13 -- Division I district boys diving meet at Dublin Community Recreation Center. The top five finishers advance to state Feb. 24 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
*Feb. 8 -- Home vs. Westerville South
Feb. 10 -- All-North Tournament at Dublin Jerome