By Derrick Smith
Family can play a huge role in the life of a student-athlete. Not only are they always there to cheer on their athlete, but they also help them grow and learn. Sammi Gilbreath says that her mother is the biggest role model she has in her life and owes who she is to her mother as well.
“My mom is my biggest influence,” she said. “She is supportive and always pushes me to be my best but she also never fails to tell me what I need to hear. She’s someone I can always count on.”
Gilbreath attends Caney Valley High School, where she is a junior. She plays basketball and runs track for the Trojans. She has played sports since the third grade and says that her growth, both as an athlete and as a person, is due to the work that she has put in over the years.
“It has taken hard work and dedication,” she said. “Making your sport your top priority is the most important thing when wanting to be successful. But aside from that it takes having teammates that push you to be your best and a coach who never lets you give up on yourself. When your coach and teammates push you further than you’re comfortable with, you will find success.”
Sammi has had some memorable moments over the span of her career, but she says that a team accomplishment is at the top of the list.
“The highlight of my career would have to be winning our district championship my freshman year,” she said. “We were playing against a ranked opponent, which made it tough. We played an amazing game and it was very rewarding.”
As a student in the classroom, Gilbreath has been taught by numerous teachers, but she says that one teacher made the biggest impact.
“Mrs. Ward is my pre-calculus teacher,” she said. “She has taught me that just because things can be hard doesn’t mean that you should quit trying,” she said. “She has pushed me to want more out of myself and my academic career and always picks me up when I need it.”