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GONZALEZ SET TO WRAP UP CAREER AT STATE

Gonzalez set to wrap up career at state

IVAN PALACIOS

RGV Sports | 2/18/2022

Gonzalez set to wrap up career at state

Ivan Palacios
Feb 18, 2022 9:17 AM
MISSION — Sharyland High’s Gabriela Gonzalez recalls the first time she qualified for the University Interscholastic League’s state swimming and diving meet.

Gonzalez served as the anchor to the Rattlers’ 200-yard freestyle relay team during her freshman year. As Gonzalez jumped into the pool for the final leg of the event during the 2019 Region VIII-5A swimming and diving meet, the Rattlers were neck and neck with Corpus Christi Veterans for second place.

When Gonzalez emerged from the water, she said she believed they finished third and just missed the cut for state. Instead, she was greeted by her teammates jumping and screaming, with Gonzalez edging the Eagles’ anchor by 0.26 seconds to punch the Rattlers’ ticket to the 2019 Class 5A state meet.

“We were seeded fourth actually,” Gonzalez said. “When I dove in, we were in third. Halfway in and around the flags we were still tied. As soon as I touched the wall, I told myself, ‘You know what? We got third. It’s OK.’ Then I see my teammates screaming and I look at the board and realize we made state.”

Gonzalez is now set to compete in her fourth straight state meet today, qualifying as an individual in the 100-yard freestyle for a third consecutive season.

“Gabby has been a blessing all four years,” Sharyland High head coach Tina Jensen said. “She’s super dedicated and super humble. … I’m excited to have seen her grow and be able to be a part of her accomplishments. Now going into the final state meet, which doesn’t happen often where they make it all four years, she’s just continued to always be focused and determined. I’m excited to see her senior year at state.”

Gonzalez has enjoyed a decorated four-year career with the Rattlers, setting schools record in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, while earning four straight District 31-5A Female Athlete of the Meet awards.

She turned her success in the pool into an athletic scholarship, recently signing to swim at the Texas-Permian Basin, a NCAA Division II university that competes in the Lone Stare Conference.

As prepares to wrap up her high school career, Gonzalez still feels the same excitement she felt the first time she qualified, she said.

“I still get shocked,” she said. “I’ll look at the board and be like, ‘You know what? I made state again.’ It’s still an absolute shock.”

The state meet begins with the Class 5A prelims at 10 a.m. today at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, followed by the Class 6A prelims at 5:30 p.m.

The Class 5A finals are slated for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, with the Class 6A set to follow at 4 p.m.

Gonzalez is just one of 30 individuals set to represent the Valley at the UIL state meet.

In Class 5A, McAllen Memorial senior Dayan Rodriguez Vallejo and Brownsville Veterans junior David Perez could be fighting for the final spot in the 100-yard breaststroke finals during the Class 5A prelims today.

Rodriguez Vallejo clocked in at 58.93 during the Region VIII-5A meet, earning him the eighth seed going into the prelims, with Perez ranking ninth with a time of 59.82.

The top eight swimmers from each race advance to the finals, with the bottom eight competing in the consolation race.

Meanwhile, PSJA Southwest senior Issac Velasquez is eyeing a spot in the finals Saturday, missing out last year after finishing 13th and 14th in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle prelims, respectively.

Velasquez enters today’s Class 5A prelims ranked 11th in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle. His mark of 21.86 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle trail eighth-seeded Luke Milholland-Geach of Fort Bend Kemper by 0.44 seconds, while his time of 47.73 falls .74 seconds behind eighth-seeded Josh Brooks (46.99) of Magnolia High.

In Class 6A, Los Fresnos junior Jada Ashford holds the highest seeding of any girl competitor, ranking 11th in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1 minute, 4.56 seconds, just 0.39 seconds behind eighth-seed ... Click here to read full article

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