Freshman utility player is not a tadpole when it comes to water, following in the footsteps of her brother by joining the water polo team

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Pete Moye'

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Yurixhi Gutierrez and Yurixhi Gutierrez

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Freshman Katherine Gabayeron comes from a family background of swimmers and water polo players, so with that in mind her own expectation is to match her brother.

Gabayeron is a utility player for the Cerritos College women’s water polo team and has also been swimming since she was 9 years old, providing her with a bit of an extra advantage and talent in the pool.

Her brother, PJ Gabayeron, won two state championships at the California Community College Athletic Association Men’s Championships at East Los Angeles College on Apr. 28 and 30.

In 2009, Cerritos was named 2nd Team All-Southern California, while also being selected 1st Team All-South Coast Conference, PJ Gabayeron also earned the team’s Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Even before that, she took her brother’s athletic achievements and viewed them as inspiration to jump into a pool and hit a water polo ball around, during her high school years with an “If my brother can do it, I can do it,” mentality.

Katherine Gabayeron’s experience with the Cerritos High School water polo team included, winning California Interscholastic Federation awards in her sophomore and junior years.

Women’s water polo Head Coach Sergio Macias said, “She has some high level experience with her high school team and had some success with it also. She is bringing over that experience with her here to Cerritos.”

Katherine Gabayeron said, “In the moment, if i think about what I’m going to do, I’m going to do something wrong or make a mistake, so i just go on instinct. That’s how I play.”

Growing up alongside an older brother that has a background in swim and water polo seems like it would add pressure to any younger sibling if they are also engaging in water polo, but Macias states otherwise.

“I think Katherine is her own person and she is here to make a name for herself.”

She quoted Olympic swimmer Aaron Peirsol, saying, “Setting a goal for yourself that is achievable, but it will make you push yourself each day.”

Goalie Sharon Ku said, “She doesn’t take it easy, not even to her own teammates. She plays like she would play in a game, which is good and it just helps her get a lot better.”

Utility player Shelby Gleason said, “She is very dedicated and hard working and always wants to get the win.”

Ku added, “When it comes to Katherine Gabayeron’s strengths during practice or in a game, she is one of our better shooters. If we have a five-meter penalty shot she is one of the people that could go up and take it, and she is also a really good defensive player too.”

Macias said, “I think she is tough minded, she is not scared to compete at any level there really isn’t a weakness other than getting better if you practice, playing against better teams, but she’s got a lot of potential bright future ahead of her.”

Both of the Gabayeron’s as have a few similarities in the way they play when it comes to playing water polo.

“They both play with a great deal of confidence [Katherine and PJ Gabayeron], they are very assertive, and they have fun, and they actually play with smiles,” Macias said.

Katherine Gabayeron finished by saying “I’m just hoping to go as far as I can with water polo.”