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Anne Photograp News 2024

Gabby Barrera reflects on Montgomery Academy’s undefeated tennis season
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Gabby Barrera reflects on Montgomery Academy’s undefeated tennis season

“Tennis for kids is an individual sport, until you play a team event.”

As a former Huntingdon College tennis player and tennis coach, Jeff Barrera knew his passion for tennis would be passed on to his daughter Gabby. It took one event when she was eleven years old for him to know he had a future prodigy on his hands.

The 2019 National Level 3 Pre-Collegiate Team Challenge in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is an event where boys and girls are placed into teams and given a college team name and compete for a weekend. Gabby remained undefeated in singles and lost one doubles match all weekend, while her team finished in second place.

“Watching her concentration, effort and enjoyment that weekend, she developed a passion to play tennis at the next level,” said Jeff Barrera. “It was such a big event at the time with high-level competition.”

Now, five years later, Gabby completed a 21-0 regular season at Montgomery Academy and capped the season by winning the Class 7A No. 1 singles championship and doubles championship for the second year in a row with teammate Mae Mae Voltz.

Winning the Class 7A state doubles championship with her teammate Voltz is a moment she will never forget.

“I was definitely excited to win the doubles with Mae Mae because it was her senior year and she just lost in the No. 2 singles state championship,” said Gabby Barrera. “I told her on the court that I want you to win a state title before you leave and go to college. Even though we wanted to do it together last year, I was really dialed in for her in that competition.

Gabby started playing tennis at Montgomery Academy in high school when they were in a Class 4A-5A program. With the success of the program over the years, the Eagles have risen all the way to Class 7A, where they have been for the past two years.

Due to Covid, Gabby played two years in Class 6A, where she was a semifinalist and state runner-up. In Class 7A, she has played in the state’s toughest line, winning back-to-back No. 1 singles championships. She was also named the Montgomery Advertiser All Area Tennis Player of the Year for the past three years.

Gabby started playing tennis in fourth grade. She reflected on her time playing travel tennis as she discussed all her success in high school.

“I played travel tennis in the USTA (United State Tennis Association) and it’s year-round,” Gabby Barrera said. “By continuously playing against different competitions, you prepare yourself physically and mentally.”

Anita Barrera, Gabby’s mother, did not have the same tennis background as her husband Jeff. But what she learned from watching Gabby showed her how her desire to do another play sets her apart from others in the state.

“She’s always been one to play that extra ball,” Anita Barrera said. “She gets into a position where her opponent thinks they’ve won the point and here comes Gabby. She’s always played the game with a positive attitude.”

Attitude and sportsmanship are two principles that Montgomery Academy tennis lives by. For Gabby, that’s because she always supports her teammates during competitions and cheers on her USTA friends.

Being undefeated all season can bring its own challenges. Gabby’s approach to every match was the same and that remains fun.

“Before the games I played against my friends or players, I knew I just had to play my game,” Gabby Barrera said. “It’s nice to win, but I make sure I love them on the field. When it came to staying undefeated, I just stayed steady and didn’t think much about it.”

Gabby will play her final season at Montgomery Academy in the 2024 season.