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Scholar Athlete: Gabrielle Katz, O'Connor High School

SAN ANTONIOWhat are you most excited about for your senior year and why?

I am excited to finish out my senior softball season strong. It has been four great years playing for O'Connor. Hopefully, my time at OC has helped the program grow and that I have been a positive role model to other players.   

The other exciting part of my senior year has been showing my pigs at various livestock shows. 

So far, I have shown pigs at the Walter Gerlach Livestock Show, San Antonio Livestock Show and Sale and I have one more big show left -- the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show. Since I am an agriculture transfer to O'Connor High School, raising livestock has been an important part of my high school experience.

What drives you to be successful in the classroom and in your particular sport?

I have always set my goals high because of the successful role models around me. Seeing what hard work can get you, both in the classroom and on the field, has made me strive to be the best competitor and work to have positive outcomes.  

My family has been a big part of my success. As a student athlete, our family's emphasis has always been on student first. Both my parents were college student-athletes, so they understand the importance of working hard in the classroom and on the field. They have taught me that hard work really does pay off and results do not always come overnight. 

Being a student-athlete takes commitment. We spend countless hours training together and traveling for softball. I wouldn't trade that time for anything. My parents have always stressed level headedness. Our mantra is "Don't Let The Highs Be Too High or the Lows Be Too Low."  When my team wins, I'm pleased, but never over the top. When we lose, I reflect on the performance, but quickly move on and set goals to improve in the next game. This thought process has helped me through challenging times in my athletic and academic careers.

What advice would you give other student athletes on how to succeed on the field, in the classroom and remain close to family?

First and foremost, stay focused on the big picture. Set a goal and do everything possible to reach it! Don't dwell on minor setbacks. You have to consistently work hard for your goals, and all the sacrifices will pay off in the end. 

My success has always come from hard work and persistence. Many hours have been spent hitting and pitching in the batting cage at our house and many late nights have been spent lifting weights and doing cardio. 

Also, as many student athletes have learned to do, I have had to fit studying into every free moment. Doing homework or studying in the car, in hotels or in airports is not uncommon. It's all about time management and most student athletes quickly become really good at it!  

I have also been blessed with an unconditionally, supportive family. Some of our best family time is spent traveling all over the country to play select softball. I play on a select team out of Birmingham, Alabama, so my mom and I are on the road a lot!  

My advice to younger student athletes would be to be prepared. You never know when opportunities will arise on a team, and if you are ready mentally and physically, then you can jump right in when a coach needs you!

What do you like best about the high school you attend?

The best part about going to O'Connor High School is getting to be part of the amazing and successful Future Farmers of America program. My twin brother and I are agriculture transfers to O'Connor High School. I would like to be a livestock veterinarian as a career, so it's a perfect match for me!  We raise show pigs through the FFA.  

Where do you want to attend college, major in and why?

I have been accepted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and have signed to play D1 softball there. I will begin my career as a student athlete at UNC this summer. I plan to major in biology and after graduation go to vet school to become a livestock veterinarian.

If you could have one superhero power, what would it be and why?

If I could possess a superhero power, I would like to read minds. This way, I could always know what other people are thinking! Although, it would also be nice to be able to turn the power on and off.

If you could take any athlete or celebrity to your senior prom, who would it be and why?

I would take Baker Mayfield because he's a great athlete and amazing competitor!