Noah Bostick was a gymnast for 14 years.
A pretty good one, too.
Just three summers ago, he took first place at a national competition in San Antonio, Texas.
"Gymnastics made me think I was capable of doing things that were kind of unique," Bostick said.
Bostick's choice of words couldn't be more spot-on. When it comes to high school sports, few athletes from Western Pennsylvania in recent memory have been as unusual.
Bostick, a senior at North Hills High School, is not only a four-sport athlete, but a four-sport star. This school year, Bostick has already won a WPIAL Class AAA diving championship and was an all-section defender in soccer. He's competed in track and volleyball this spring. Last week, he won the high jump at the talent-heavy Baldwin Invitational. Bostick, who is 6 feet 4, is also one of the WPIAL's top volleyball players despite having played only his junior and senior seasons.
A West View resident, Bostick said his mother, Karen, got him involved in sports when he was just a few years old. Bostick's mother wanted her son to get a taste of as many sports as possible. It's obviously paying dividends now.
"My mom made it possible for me to try whatever I wanted to try. I owe everything to her. She always let me try new things," said Bostick, who also played basketball before giving up that sport after his eighth grade year.
Phil O'Keeffe is the volleyball coach at Fox Chapel, but also coaches Bostick's club team for the Pittsburgh Volleyball Club. O'Keeffe has been coaching for more than a decade and has had players go on to play at powerhouse college programs such as Penn State and Stanford.
"Honestly, I've had better volleyball players and I've coached some really good athletes, but [Bostick] is possibly the best athlete I have coached," O'Keeffe said. "He moves well. He has a great build. He jumps well. He's just overall a very good athlete."
The past few months have been especially demanding for Bostick. After he's done with school, he goes to track practice until about 4:30. Then it's straight to volleyball practice. He said the coaches have been very flexible with him and there have been only a couple of time conflicts that have caused him to miss one or the other.
"It's really busy, but I enjoy the busy lifestyle," Bostick said.
North Hills did not qualify for the WPIAL volleyball playoffs, but Bostick has his sights set on at least one WPIAL gold medal in track. His best high jump this season has been 6 feet, 4 inches. No WPIAL athlete has jumped higher this season. Bostick also qualified for the WPIAL championships in the 110-meter high hurdles and 300-meter intermediate hurdles at the Northern Qualifier, which took place Tuesday at Pine-Richland.
Regardless of whether or not Bostick leaves Baldwin High School next Thursday with WPIAL gold, he knows he will have one waiting for him at home. After finishing second at the WPIAL diving championships as a junior, Bostick topped the field in February.
"I really just knew what I had to do. I knew this was my last shot, so I had to make it happen. I practiced hard, so I knew everything would go well," Bostick said a few days after the win.
Jack Garrow is the former diving coach at North Hills and taught Bostick how to dive.
"He had only been diving for a few years," Garrow said. "Most of the other guys like him, kids who win WPIAL titles, finish third at states and earn All-American status, they've been doing it since they were 9 years old."
Bostick's volleyball coach said he could be a terrific college player if he chose to concentrate on that sport. Odds are his soccer coach feels that way, too.
But Bostick will take part in only one sport when he arrives at Slippery Rock University this fall. Well, kind of. Bostick will join the track and field team and plans on doing -- What else? -- the decathlon, a competition consisting of 10 events
"Instead of focusing on one [event], I can do all the ones I like," Bostick said.
No one should be surprised by that.