While Olivia Ohlmann loves both field lacrosse and basketball, there is no secret which one has a larger hold on her heart.
The two-sport star was asked which sport she wanted to discuss first.
“We can start with basketball because I can talk forever about lacrosse,” the 16-year-old enthused.
Ohlmann has played lacrosse for half her life, switching from hula dancing when she was eight at the suggestion of a support worker in her school.
She fell instantly for the game.
“I tried it and just fell in love with it,” she explained. “And I set myself a goal and kept working towards it.”
Up until that point, Ohlmann had also done gymnastics and piano but with time constraints, she now just focuses on lacrosse and basketball.
Last month, Ohlmann was among the 160 field lacrosse athletes — and one of only three Canadians for her age group — invited to the Northstar Invitational Camp in Lake Placid, NY.
More than 600 applied to attend the four-day camp.
She also earned both an all-star award and her team’s Fair Play Award when Langley Minor Lacrosse hosted the midget box lacrosse provincial championships. Ohlmann was one of two girls on the Langley midget B lacrosse squad.
“Olivia’s skill and understanding of the game was way past everyone else’s on the team,” said Thunder coach Gavan Sand.
“She knew what her weaknesses were and would ask questions on how to improve.
“And anytime you taught her something, she would be out her next shift doing exactly what you taught her.”
And while lacrosse — and a scholarship — remain the end goal, Ohlmann is also gaining attention on the basketball court.
Ohlmann, who is five-foot-10.5, began playing basketball in middle school and now is part of the powerhouse Brookswood Bobcats program.
She enters Grade 11 next month.
And her coach at the junior level, Sarah Cameron, has noticed a big change in Ohlmann since she saw her at the end of Grade 8.
“This (past) year, we found she was the player that most coaches from other teams would come up to us and say ‘who is that girl?’” Cameron said.
“She is not necessarily the most polished basketball player — she works really hard, she is super gritty, she sprints the floor like most people can’t — and she does the little things that can make a difference for a team.”
At the Brookswood athletic banquet, Ohlmann received the ‘Game Changer’ award.
She received the award because of her ability to impact the game in a variety of ways, whether it be scoring, defence, rebounding or just plain hustle.
“People can’t keep up because of her athleticism,” Cameron said. “She will dive to the floor for loose balls, she will step in and try and block shots, she does the little things you need people to do.”
In basketball, Ohlmann plays forward while in field lacrosse, she plays either midfield or attack.
No matter what she is playing, Ohlmann just enjoys being part of a team.
“It is like having a second family, you spend a lot of time together,” she said.
“But the competition is probably one of the best parts, just the feeling of working and winning together.”
While she can juggle both sports for now — playing basketball also helps Ohlmann with cardio for lacrosse — the time will come when she must focus on one.
“Regardless of whatever sport she chooses, Olivia has a bright future ahead of her,” Cameron said. “She is a fantastic athlete. I think there would be a lot of coaches who would love to have someone like that on their team.”