When it came to deciding on her sport of choice, Courtney Gomez didn’t need to look for help any further than her own family.
“I was in fourth grade when I first started volleyball,” says Gomez. “I wanted to play because my mom played when she was in high school, and she got me into volleyball.”
The Cornelia Connelly High School junior and two-year varsity starter plays setter for the Koalas and is a key component of both the school’s team and program.
“From my first practice with Courtney, I knew she was a great athlete and would become an asset to our program,” says Connelly varsity volleyball head coach, Megan Marrujo. “As a varsity starter for the past two seasons, she has basically never left the court. She brings a lot of energy and hard work into every practice and game. Being a setter, she controls the tempo of the game and she is one of the few players that touches the ball in almost every play. Courtney has grown tremendously over the past two years, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for her.”
For Gomez, it’s the team aspect of the game that gives her the most satisfaction as an athlete, along with the energy she receives from their fan base.
“I like being on a team and the atmosphere it gives with the fans,” says the 15-year-old. “Something that’s great is that our teachers are always at our volleyball games, and we always have parents in the stands. So that makes me feel good.”
As the Fullerton resident looks to the next season, Gomez sees the perfect opportunity to grow both as a player and a leader, utilizing her experience on the team to help bring up the younger players. She also hopes to help push the Koalas to be even more competitive, while leaning on their shared faith as a place to start.
“Having a team [where] we all share in the same beliefs helps me have a better support system,” says Gomez.
Time management and the balance between school and sports is something Gomez continues to work on, but she acknowledges the continual presence and support of her parents as a major source of her motivation.
“I’ve learned that my parents are a big factor in my life,” says Gomez. “They’ve always been there for me.”
Her role model when it comes to being an athlete does not come from the world of volleyball. Instead, Gomez cites former NBA star and Los Angeles Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant, as someone who inspires her both on and off the court.
“He has such a drive for the game,” says Gomez. “That encourages me to have a drive for my sport.”