Senior Isabella Morales dashes to the finish line at the end of the 1,600m race on Feb. 22
Morales first joined track during her freshmen year, but due to COVID-19, her freshman and sophomore seasons were cut short. Starting her junior year, Morales broke the 1600 meter school record with a time of 5:45.05. Additionally, Morales also beat the 5000 meter school record with a time of 19:59.30, qualifying her for the Florida High School Athletic Association State Championship. But Morales did not stop there, she followed her successful junior season with intense summer training in preparation for the following year.
“I went into the race obviously thinking, let me push myself so I can break [20 minutes], but also let me push myself for my teammates, so we can advance to the state championship. So as soon as I crossed the line, and I saw it was 19:59.30, I was really just proud of myself and so happy that I just released tears of joy and hugged my teammates after everyone finished their race and along with my coaches. It was just a great moment,” Morales said.
Her devotion to running and leadership qualities led her to be named the team captain of both the girls cross country team as well as the girls distance team in track during her last year at Gables. Now holding two school records, Morales continued to set high goals throughout her senior season.
Despite her success in running, basketball had always been her go-to sport, as she grew up watching and playing it. Starting as a six-year-old in the recreational league at the Youth Center, Morales practiced with her team and played in games until she reached Gables. Despite the contrast in these sports, Morales’s dedication remained constant, earning her the title of Co-Captain of the Lady Cavs basketball team by her senior year. By the end of the 2022 winter season, Morales was satisfied with her successful senior season filled with many victories.
“Basketball definitely feels more like a team sport because you are constantly moving around with a team. I see running as more as a competition against myself rather than a competition against another group of people. So with every race that I go into, I kind of just try to improve myself in one aspect or another,” Morales said.
Through her experiences and the steadfast support shown to her by her family, coaches and teammates, Morales has been able to handle every curveball thrown at her. But more than that, she is there for her teammates to guide them through thick and thin, rightfully earning her titles as the team captain of all her sports. For all these reasons, as well as her remarkable athletic performances, Morales was awarded the Outstanding Athlete award her senior year, as yet another addition to her collection.
“I don’t know who I am without sports, because they have been a part of my life since I was out of the womb. But, playing sports, watching sports, talking about sports, it’s just such a big part of my life and a big part of who I am. Sports have built my personality and all of my characteristics, from how I interact with other people to how I perceive myself. It’s just such an integral part of who I am that has really taught me so many things, so many lessons. That just means a lot to me,” Morales said.
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