As Gabby Rivera played her last game with the Columbia Blue Devils lacrosse team, she reflects on how her senior season after CoVID came to be. “It was interesting. We had a quick turnaround time, with only a week of practice before our games started. It was good though”, Rivera said.
As a senior attack for Columbia, Rivera tells me how she finds her home to be as an offensive player, while this season taking on the role of draws. Rivera said, “The last time I took draws was eighth grade travel lacrosse, but because of my height I had a great advantage in this spot.” Rivera told me that her travel team folded a few years ago, but with CoVID most of her playing time would’ve been taken from her anyway.
Rivera is currently tied for fourth place for goals in Section 2, with 59 total and 13 assists. Rivera’s most recent award was Honorable Mention for Suburban Council her sophomore year, which is the last season she played. Rivera said, “Junior year our team had the best seniors and our best chance of Columbia being a good team. But, with CoVID and losing them, we did as good as we could this past year.” Rivera has hopes to make it to First Team in the Suburban Council.
One of Rivera’s strengths in her opinion is her unselfishness. Rivera understands lacrosse is a team sport, and with this sport comes teamwork. Rivera also knows she works well under pressure. Rivera will be playing at the next level and mentions this next season will be a fresh start. Rivera told me, “I got recruited as an attacker, so there’s a good chance I will be playing there. But if my coach tells me I’m playing a different position, I will.”
Rivera is a big fan of her job as well as her dog Bruce, which is a good thing to do as an athlete: Have time away from your sport. Rivera goes on to tell me this is why she chose division III, she will have the best balance she can (out of the three divisions) for her life and her sport. Rivera said, “I understand how much effort my studies will take, as well as my sport, but I still want to keep my social life”.
While Rivera doesn’t necessarily have a least favorite team in Section 2, there are plenty of schools that she believes are unsportsmanlike, and don’t necessarily know how to lose. Rivera explains this, saying, “Being the smallest school in our class, Columbia experiences the wins and losses all season. Some schools dominate and beat the same teams every year. The schools that both win and lose don’t ever see what it’s like to be crushed. More can be learned from being on both the winning and losing sides”. This is also a token of Rivera’s character, proving just how unselfish she is about her game.
Rivera ended her interview with me shouting out her favorite player, Julia Foster, and her parents. Rivera tells me that all three of these individuals have encouraged her to play harder and for longer. “Julia and I have been playing together since fifth grade, and now we’re playing at Ithaca together. I am so excited. She’s just so good at the game and never gives less than 100% to her skill. My parents are so supportive as well. My dad is the assistant coach so I get more time than I could dream of with him on the sidelines. And my mom isn’t as knowledgeable as my dad and I about the sport but she’s always there, every game, cheering me on”, Rivera said.
Rivera will be attending Ithaca College this fall as a Health Sciences student on the Pre-Physician Assistant track. She has hopes to work in a pediatric setting one day. Keep an eye out for Rivera as she begins her training with the lacrosse team at Ithaca this winter.