Laredo Sports Medicine Clinic is proud to introduce our spotlight athlete for July 2016…Gabriela “Gaby” Sentíes! A recent graduate of United High School, Gaby graduated under the Distinguished Achievement Plan from the Engineering and Technology Magnet Program. Throughout her four years of high school, Gaby not only made an academic impact, but an athletic one as well. Her dedication to various sports, both in and out of school, make her an outstanding athlete that is on her way to even greater accomplishments.
Gaby’s first introduction to sports came from watching her father play recreational baseball when she was growing up. Her own encounter with sports would be after watching a movie that would forever change her life: The Karate Kid. She recalls watching the movie as a child and being so captivated by it that she begged her father to let her join the sport. It wouldn’t be until a few years later that Gaby would finally get a chance to pursue karate as a student of Bears Karate International. Not only would she fall in love with the sport, but she would excel in it too. Gaby earned the nickname “Legs” because of how fierce her kicks are.
There is a particular quote that has inspired Gaby to become unstoppable,
“Turn your cant’s into cans and your dreams into plans.”
Keeping this in mind, Gaby decided to give other sports a try as she was entering her high school years. During her freshman year, our featured athlete tried out for the volleyball team. She recalls,
“So many times in my life people have told me that I would never amount to anything great, especially with volleyball. I set out to prove everyone who doubted me wrong. And most importantly, I did it for myself.”
Gaby spent the next four years in volleyball, never letting her height, she stands at a petite 5’4, limit her. Instead, she used her size to her advantage and played smarter. She always kept in mind that it is not how tall you are, but rather how good you are. During her senior year, she exceled as a setter and right side hitter. Most recently, she received the title of Setter of the Year and was featured in the Laredo Morning Times. Gaby and the rest of the United volleyball team were able to make school history by reaching the third round of the playoffs this year and earing the District and Bi-district champion titles.
“Gabs,” as her volleyball teammates lovingly nicknamed her, traveled to Las Vegas in February of this year to a national volleyball showcase. It was there where she got the chance to showcase her skills in front of college coaches. During the recruitment showcase, the United senior caught the eye of Virginia Tech coach Chris Riley. When Gaby was interviewed for KGNS regarding her recent accomplishment, she said,
“I was completely shocked! I thought he was kidding, honestly. He offered me a full ride scholarship. He brought me on campus to see the school and I just fell in love with it the moment I saw it.”
Gaby becomes the first volleyball player from Laredo in the past 20 years to make the jump from high school to a Division I volleyball program. Her journey as a Virginia Tech student begins on July 1, 2016, with her first course beginning on July 5. She plans on pursing a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and says,
“In receiving the scholarship from Virginia Tech, I found faith in myself. I was able to prove all the people who doubted me wrong, and it felt good. Now, I completely believe that my aspirations will become realities.”
Our featured athlete has had a busy schedule after graduating from United High School. She has been spending her summer training hard to further strengthen her volleyball skills. As a member of the Virginia Tech Hokies volleyball team, she is ready to continue playing the sport that has paved the way to her collegiate years.
While volleyball may have given Gaby a lot of unexpected opportunities, she is thankful for her roots in karate. Being a student of Bears Karate International has taught Gaby a lot about the sport and about life. She transitioned from child pupil to teacher and became enamored with their philosophy on training. Everyone at Bears has become her second family.
She is particularly grateful for her karate instructor, Vito Rodriguez. He has always been someone who she looks up to. Mr. Rodriguez has been like a second father to her and taught her all the karate skills she has acquired over the years. She is currently ranked third in the nation for Women’s Point Sparring and has a Black Belt in Kakuto Bushi-Do. She wouldn’t have been able to excel in her state and national karate competitions if it weren’t for the guidance she received from Mr. Vito Rodriguez. She aspires to be like him.
After graduating from Virginia Tech in 2020, Gaby would love to become a photographer or work for a magazine. Born and raised in Laredo, Texas, Gaby has always had dreams of one-day living in California.
Gaby hopes to inspire other athletes from Laredo to believe in themselves and not let anyone or anything stop them.
“Everyone has the potential to go as far as they dream, it just comes down to dedication and hard work.”
Blessed with her father’s athleticism and her mother’s determination, Gaby’s resilience is evident when you speak with her. This month’s athlete has a great head on her shoulders and we can’t wait to see where her willpower takes her next.
LSMC congratulates and is proud to recognize Gabriela “Gaby” Sentíes as July’s Spotlight Athlete!