A lot of time goes into being a student athlete. Athletes have to manage classes, homework, practices, and lifts. Now imagine doing two sports, singing in a vocal ensemble, writing and editing for the student paper, and managing all your school work. Seems pretty hard, right? Well, sophomore Gabriela “Gabi” Howell is one person who makes it all look easy.
The first thing you need to know about Howell is that she is used to being an active athlete and balancing that with school work. Throughout her high school career, she was a year-round athlete, participating in Field Hockey, Swimming, and Track. As she moved on into college, she was committed to continuing her field hockey career.
“I always knew I wanted to play field hockey at the collegiate level and wanted to be a part of Ursinus’ amazing program,” she said.
With field hockey set in stone, she looked back after graduating high school and realized that she was going to really miss her other favorite sport, swimming.
Howell explained, “After my high school swimming career ended, I realized how much I was going to miss it, so I talked to Coach [Mark] Feinberg about swimming at Ursinus.”
Coach Feinberg helped Gabi get connected with the team and gave her a spot on the prestigious roster, which has won five consecutive Centennial Conference Championships.
Some may think that being a dual athlete at Ursinus with overlapping seasons would be enough.
But not for Howell. On top of her athletic commitments, she has joined B-Naturals (B-Nats), the campus’ female a capella group. B-Nats meets two times a week for about an hour and a half from 9-10:30. Along with rehearsals, they also have shows that she has to attend, even if she has a test the following day.
All of these commitments have caused Howell to develop strong time management skills.
“I have to use all my free time being productive in order to balance everything,” she said. Some days she will be doing homework right up until practice or even games. After B-Nats, there are days when she has to go back to her room and study before getting to rest.
Although being a very busy student athlete and active participant in other extracurriculars, Howell plans to remain in all of her activities throughout the remainder of her Ursinus career.
With all the stress and dedication that comes with being so involved, Howell has had some memorable moments. She is excelling on the field hockey field, and is a key component of the nationally ranked (19) team this season as the CC playoffs begin.
She is in perfect harmony with the rest of the Ursinus B-Nats as they sing their way into an upcoming show after Thanksgiving break.
But one moment that was really special to Gabi was the day the Ursinus Women’s swim team walked up onto the podium and claimed the Centennial Conference championship last year by a record-setting margin.
Howell said, “Having our team stand on the podium holding the champion banner was so exciting.”
For Howell, there is a lot of commitment, dedication and stress, but there are a lot of happy times that come with being so busy. She has met some incredible people along the way, who have helped to shape her. She doesn’t regret anything that she’s signed up for – rather, she embraces it and encourages people to get out and do more on campus.
Gabi Howell is also a copyeditor for “The Grizzly.”