Athlete of the Week: Gabby Matic


Ashley Hawkins

Although Matic has played five sports during her athletic career, soccer and track are the two that have stuck with her.

For junior Gabby Matic, her current varsity sports — track and soccer — weren’t always her main focus. Before track and soccer, Matic participated in volleyball, swim, and gymnastics at different times in her life. Gymnastics was her initial main sport, which she started at the age of three.

Matic first picked up soccer in the fourth grade. “I played at school a lot, and I really liked the physicality of it and how fast people played,” Matic said. Since then, she has found herself spending more and more time with the game. “I told my mom to put me in little rec classes here and there,” Matic said. “I worked up to bigger clubs and better teams that I could play for, and then it just escalated from there.”

Last year, Matic found herself at a crossroads, needing to decide between soccer and gymnastics. 

Matic chose soccer. “I ended up loving [soccer] more than gymnastics,” Matic said. Her gymnastics coaches were a big reason for her decision to focus solely on soccer. “They were just brutal to some kids, and I didn’t like the way they coached,” she said. “I felt pushed, but not in a good way. I felt like I just wanted to be successful for them and not for myself.”

During her time at La Salle, Matic has also picked up track and field. Currently, she competes in the 100-meter dash, 4x100m relay, and long jump.

In both her current sports, she has discovered a strong sense of community. “It’s a sisterhood,” Matic said. “Sometimes, the people that I meet on my sports team are the reason why I go to practice, because they’re the people that I look forward to seeing every day after school.”

Matic has also formed several strong relationships with her teammates during her time at La Salle. “I grew a lot of strong connections with some of the teammates I’ve had,” Matic said. “They’re mostly seniors, so it’s hard to see them go.”

It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for Matic, though, as she has an extensive injury history both during her time at La Salle and before high school. Her injuries have included a fractured nose, two broken feet, and a torn meniscus that she sustained earlier this year. Matic also has “pretty weak ankles,” which she attributes to her time with gymnastics. 

However, Matic has been able to persevere and stay motivated throughout this adversity. She even named her return from an injury during the track season as one of her best moments as a Falcon. “I missed more than half the season, and my first meet [back] was a twilight meet, which is a really big meet with all the big high schools,” Matic said. 

Despite her time off, Matic set a PR (personal record) in all of her events during that meet. “That was a really high point,” Matic said. “It’s a big victory when you come back from something and succeed.”

Matic credits her support system for helping her stay motivated. She named junior Nadaly Osenniy and senior Mia Middendorff as two friends who have stuck with her. “They’ve always been there and they’re always there to comfort me, no matter what happens.” 

Her father, who she names as her “best friend,” has also been an integral part of her athletic journey. “He’s always there whenever I need him, he’s always asking me how I’m doing,” Matic said. “He’s always sending me motivational Instagram reels — he’s that type of dad.”

Matic’s steely mentality is another thing that she attributes her motivation to. “It’s all in your head,” Matic said. “[I’ve learned] to mentally prepare and get in the right mindset.” Matic acknowledges the competitiveness of La Salle’s varsity sports, but she welcomes the challenge. “It’s very beneficial when you are practicing with people that are better than you,” Matic said. “That motivates you to [reach] the level that they’re at.”

While Matic has already earned spots on varsity in both of her sports, she still carries that hardworking mentality. “Keep pursuing what you love, and don’t let anybody tell you how to feel,” Matic said. “No matter if you’re the favorite or not, you need to maintain that spot and keep impressing your coach.”