Norman’s Ainslee Gabriel: Driven Athlete of the Month – Presented by Landers Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM of Norman


By John Tranchina

To Ainslee Gabriel, nothing but her best will do.

The Norman High senior excelled on the tennis court, works very hard to try her best in the classroom, as well as anything else she puts her hand to, which is quite a bit.

“It definitely is something I try to do,” Gabriel said of putting in maximum effort all the time. “I have to work at it, because like every high schooler, you definitely want to procrastinate sometimes, but I just try to work hard to stay on top of my studies and be involved in activities like tennis and with my church – I do a lot of stuff with them. I have my schedule super busy, so I try to do everything to the best of my ability.”

Gabriel enjoyed a strong tennis season as part of a successful 2-Doubles duo with freshman Taylor Mattingly, as they qualifed for the state tournament, and placed in several other tournaments.

The accompanying photo is of her (right) and Mattingly after placing third at the Tecumseh tournament that the Tigers won overall. Gabriel was also presented with “the team contributor” award for her willingness to play wherever Norman tennis coach Kelly Stout asked her.

“I had a lot of fun with it,” she said of the season. “We ended up going to state, so I was really excited about that. I just love spending time with the entire team and just enjoying the ride of senior year. I think we did pretty well.”

Also, although Gabriel played soccer most of her life, she took a break from that this year and instead joined a club rugby team outside of school, just for a change, and loved it.

“I played with Colts Rugby this first semester,” she said. “It was a lot of fun. I really loved the group of girls that I got to hang out with, they’re always super sweet and super respectful, even though it’s a crazy tough game and we try to kill each other when we’re on the field.”

Gabriel, who was also involved in the Tiger Society Scholars group that regularly met with Norman’s principal to discuss pressing issues around the school, will be attending the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland next year, majoring in mechanical engineering.

“Ainslee is simply one of the most special people I’ve ever met,” Coach Stout said. “She possesses a brilliant 4.3 GPA for her high school career and is a member of several clubs and organizations. She also volunteers each summer to assist others in poverty-stricken countries. Ainslee is not only a driven athlete – she is a driven, caring and very special young person.”