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August 2, 2011 > Former Logan standout ready for new challenge

Former Logan standout ready for new challenge

By Kevin Yin

For Gabriella Stange, competition is not merely an activity. It is a way of life.

During her four years at James Logan High School, Stange won 12 varsity letters, four each in three different sports: soccer, track and field, and cross-country. When she had completed her career, she had amassed a long list of Mission Valley Athletic League honors, having been named to the All-MVAL team eight times in the three individual sports.

Considering the rigors an athlete must sustain herself through in order to compete-much less excel-at even a single sport, Stange's dossier implies a quantity and quality of attention and labor that a typical person would be unwilling to muster for anything less than a matter of survival. Yet Stange professed little difficulty in handling the load.

"During freshman year, it was sometimes hard," Stange said. "From one practice to another, sometimes you get home at ten o'clock, but I got used to it. I became accustomed to it, and then it was just life."

The source of her seemingly inexhaustible supply of competitive fuel is hardly a mystery. Stange's father, Ken, was a standout athlete in his youth, and introduced Gabriella to the sporting world at a young age. Ken Stange said his daughter's competitive nature was evident very quickly.

"If there was any way to describe her, it would be as a fierce competitor," Ken Stange said. "As a baby, she used to dribble the soccer ball in the house. Even at a young age, she was very, very competitive. She did not like to lose."

Gabriella's older sister, Alex, was also a standout athlete for Logan, and is currently a member of the softball team at San Jose State. Gabriella believes that, more than any other factor, it was her sister who spurred her on to success.

"Ever since we were kids, it's always been competitive. I was like 'I want to beat you'. It was always a family rivalry," Stange said.

Although Stange said she enjoyed competing in all three sports, soccer gradually emerged as the recipient of her greatest focus. In her senior year, Logan went undefeated in MVAL play, winning the program's first ever league title. Logan girls soccer coach Tony Villasenor credits Stange's contributions to keying their success.

"She was really instrumental that last year," Villasenor said. "We went undefeated in the league and won the first league title in Logan history, so she was instrumental in achieving one of the greatest seasons that Logan girls soccer has ever had."

With her 3.75 grade point average and parade of athletic honors, after her career at Logan was completed Stange had scholarship offers to play soccer at colleges across the country. She decided on San Jose State largely so she could remain close to her family. In order to devote maximum attention to her soccer career, Stange has given up competing in track or cross country. Pairing down the number of sports she competes in, however, does not mean Stange is getting soft in her old age.

"This sport is almost like having the same load as all three sports in high school," Stange said. "For college, the work rate is incredible. Right now, we go three-a-days. We start at six and we end at nine, and you don't get to go home for three weeks. So it's almost like having three sports at a time."

Stange was bitten by some bad luck at the opening of her college career, recently suffering a partial hamstring tear. The injury has sidelined her, but only temporarily. She anticipated being recovered in two to three weeks, and looks forward to getting back onto the field.

"It's kinda hard not being able to prove yourself yet. I can't wait 'till it's healed so I can get going."

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