Olivia Boone initially didn't want to compete for the Olentangy Berlin gymnastics team.
The three-time individual state qualifier spent her freshman and sophomore seasons at Olentangy before Berlin opened in August 2018.
Boone felt at home with the Braves and, at the time, was more than reluctant to attend Berlin, but she didn't have a choice because of the school district's redistricting prior to the 2017-18 school year.
"Honestly, when I heard about Berlin opening up, I was really against it," said Boone, now a senior. "I was like, 'I don't want to move. I have all of my friends here. I don't want to get divided up.'
"We were a powerhouse at Olentangy, and our team was great when I was a sophomore. I was kind of upset that we were going to split up. Afterward, I was excited that I would get to start a foundation at Berlin, and that's exactly what we did."
Led by Boone, Berlin finished fourth (138.6) in the district meet last season, edged by Olentangy (139.65) for the third and final berth in the state team meet. Thornville Sheridan (145.205) and Dublin Jerome (139.8) earned the top two spots.
"Last year, we were very close to making it to state," Boone said. "We come in every day to practice knowing state is our goal and we work hard every meet. We have been pretty much scoring higher in every meet. Our high is 140 and we haven't hit any of our routines yet."
Boone started gymnastics at a very young age. Her mother, Melissa, started taking her to classes before she was 2 years old, and her passion for the sport sprouted.
"I have been doing gymnastics as long as I can remember," she said. "I was doing 'mommy and me' classes at Buckeye Gymnastics since I was 18 months old, my mom said. Then I started doing club at Buckeye when I was 6 years old and I have been doing it ever since.
"My mom was a gymnast while growing up in Michigan. She loved everything about it. She put me in it when I was little and she just saw that I sparked in it. I became very good very fast and gymnastics has been my life forever."
Berlin coach Jen Hedrick saw Boone compete at Olentangy and knew she would be an impactful performer with the Bears.
"Liv brings leadership, motivation, self-discipline and talent," Hedrick said. "She has a lot of skills, she's dedicated and has a lot of drive. She's a good role model for the other gymnasts in the fact that she works hard when she is here. She also is working out after practices."
Boone competed in the all-around last year at state, tying for 27th with a 34.9. She placed seventh on balance beam (9.275), tied for eighth on floor exercise (9.275), finished 30th on vault (8.7) and scored a 7.65 on uneven bars.
In her previous state appearances, she had placed 32nd on floor (8.675) as a sophomore and 21st on vault (9.0) and 30th on floor (8.5) as a freshman.
"I like beam best, without a doubt," Boone said. "You either have a love or hate relationship with the beam because it's so thin and small. You either love it or hate it.
"I used to hate it, and I used to be scared (of it), but I have come to love it because it's always a challenge. You're not going to make it every single time or know how your routine will turn out. If you're shaking a little bit, even if the (air) is blowing a little bit, you could fall off. You never know what will happen. It will always be a surprise every time."
Boone gave up club gymnastics because of its time commitment. She served as a football cheerleader and has part-time jobs as a youth cheer instructor and at CoreLife Eatery.
"I kind of gave up on the idea of being a college gymnast when I was a freshman," said Boone, who has a 3.5 GPA and wants to study nutrition at Ohio State. "(Colleges) don't really look at high school athletes as much, which is sad because my dream was always to be a college gymnast. I guess high school gymnastics is looked at as kind of being recreational and fun. If there was a way, I would do it, but ...
"As I got older, I got into cheer and had more of a social life. In club gymnastics, you have to cut out the social life and just do gymnastics all of the time. That was a struggle because I wanted to hang out with friends on a Friday night and not be practicing. I had to choose and finally, my freshman year I said I want to be a student. I want to be a high-schooler and not just be focused on gymnastics all of the time. If I could go back, I would stay with high school. I have had so much fun. I would like to have gone to college for (gymnastics), but I think I'm on the path I'm supposed to be on."
Bland, Shoaf leading way for bowlers
Entering a match against Big Walnut on Jan. 21, Bella Bland and Aaron Shoaf were leading the girls and boys bowling teams, respectively, in average.
Bland had a 165.5 average for the girls team, which was 4-6 overall and 1-6 in the COHSBC-A Division before Jan. 21 and is 3-3 in the OCC-Cardinal. She was followed by Eve Pennington (151.3) and Michele Starner (151.1).
Shoaf had a 184 average for the boys team, which was 4-9 overall and 3-5 in the COHSBC-A before Jan. 21 and is 1-5 in the OCC-Cardinal. Logan Wright (172.9) was next for the Bears, followed by Mason D'Amore (164.4) and Hunter Kraft (161.8).
Boys basketball team seeking more wins
The boys basketball team was 1-12 overall and 0-8 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Jerome on Jan. 21.
The Bears lost to Dublin Scioto 58-32 in a league contest Jan. 18 as Austin Corley had 10 points and Adrian Stone scored six.
Through 13 games, Corley was averaging a team-high 10.8 points, followed by Grant Schrieber (7.4), Jason Inbody (5.0) and Stone (4.5).
Below are the coming schedules for the Berlin boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 24 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley. The Bears lost to the Jaguars 64-33 on Dec. 10.
Jan. 27 -- Home vs. Northside Christian
*Jan. 24 -- At Bradley. The Bears lost to the Jaguars 47-38 on Dec. 10.
Jan. 28 -- Home vs. Horizon Science
*Jan. 23 -- Grandview at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 24 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 27 -- Liberty at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 25 -- At Delaware with Kilbourne
*Jan. 24 -- Dublin Jerome at Chiller Dublin
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 25 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Kenyon College
*Jan. 23 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto
Jan. 25 -- Home vs. Licking Heights, Orange and Sparta Highland