Check out an Oakland Mills girls basketball game and you can't miss guard Gabby Barnes. She's the one with endless energy - firing up teammates, playing relentless defense and getting the offense going. The senior captain, in her third varsity season, averages 10 points, two steals and an assist per game. Barnes also has been a member of the Scorpions' outdoor track team, competing in the 300 hurdles, long jump, triple jump and relays.
Maintaining a 3.0 grade point average, she is headed to High Point University in North Carolina and wants to become a cardiologist. Along with playing basketball and competing in track, Barnes is in the ROTC program as an inspector general, in charge of setting up promotion boards at the school. In her free time, she enjoys horseback riding.
What is the key to playing strong defense? Hustle and heart - that's basically the keys right there. Anybody can move their feet, but you get tired after awhile and after that, it's all about heart and staying with it.
What is your role on the team?
My role on the court is pretty much being a motivator. I'm always talking to the team, always motivating - whether they like it or not [laughs], I'm going to be loud. If I'm excited about the game, you'll know about it.
What are the team's goals for the rest of the season?
County championship is definitely in our sights - we're working hard towards that. We're also trying to get a good seed for the playoffs to make a run at the state championship. We're looking forward to that, so hopefully we can keep our heads on straight and play good basketball.
How did you decide on High Point?
One of my friends on the basketball team, Jillian Montoya, said she was going down, and I was like, "I might as well go along with you." We fell in love with the campus, the people and curriculum was great. The campus is really beautiful. They had an open house and everyone was really nice and really willing to help you out, and they had the major I wanted, so it seemed like the right fit.
Why do you want to become a cardiologist?
I've always been fascinated with the heart for some reason. Just the way it works and everything about it really intrigues me, so I definitely want to understand it a little more. Other than the brain, the heart is what keeps you going. And it's really important to me as an athlete, so understanding it is pretty key.
How long have you been horseback riding?
I've been doing it since I was 8. It's pretty fun, keeps me relaxed. It's a nice contrast between basketball, track and school.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
I don't know if it's advice, but Adidas had a slogan: "Impossible is Nothing." That really makes me want to do every- ting I can possibly do. I think I was in the eighth or ninth grade and saw it in a commercial and I was like:, "You know what, impossible is nothing. I can do whatever I want to do and so can everybody else." I just think it's a great slogan. I just love it.
What's the one TV show you don't miss each week?
America's Next Top Model. I love that show. I've always been interested in modeling, so I really like watching that show.
Do you have any favorite sports teams?
North Carolina Tar Heels - that's my team. My family is from North Carolina, so it's in my blood. And the St. Louis Rams are my other team. They didn't do very well this year, but I'm named after one of their old quarterbacks, Roman Gabriel.
If you could meet anybody in the world, who would it be and what question would you ask?
If I could meet anybody in the world, it would probably be Nelson Mandela, and I'd ask him how it felt to be in prison for something he believed in and for fighting against what he knew was wrong.