BUCKHANNON — It is important to highlight the youth in Upshur County and the hard work they have put in to excelling in the sports they play. This series of articles will go in-depth with one of B-U’s student athletes, allowing readers to get to know a little more about who athletically represents the community. This week, sophomore Lady Buc shooting guard/small forward Gabby Parke, took some time to give the community an inside look at her journey in Upshur County sports.
Question 1: Can you describe your major highlights and achievements in sports in the past? What standouts out to you about your high school athletic career?
“I was second team All-Conference as a freshman. What stands out to me, about my high school athletic career, is that I have started varsity since my freshman year, which means I had to play as a junior or senior while only being a freshman. It was definitely tough, but I’m glad for that experience because it has really pushed me to the next level and has given me the ability to play where I am today,” said Parke
Question 2: What clubs, teams or other extracurricular activities have you been involved in during high school?
“I am fully committed to basketball, so when I am not playing for the Lady Bucs, I am competing in national competitions with the Lady OV Dragons AAU team or in the weight room getting stronger,” stated Parke.
Question 3: Why are you so passionate about playing sports?
“My dream, since I started playing basketball, is to win the state championship and I will do anything to get there. Just watching the Hanna McClung and Lauren Bennett team play and compete at such a high level really inspired me to become like them and hopefully even do more. I just loved how whenever that team was going to states, both years, the whole community was very supportive and all came together. I’ve been grateful enough to have Hanna work with me in the summers for the past three years, so I’ve bought more into the idea of making it to states just by learning how they did it, what it takes to do it and how to apply the hard work into the game because doing that is really one of the hardest things about basketball. It’s all about confidence,” explained Parke.
Question 4: What is your favorite sport? What made it your favorite? What drew you to the sport?
“Basketball is my all-time favorite sport. It’s probably my favorite because It’s all I do, all the time. I have really grown a strong love for it and I don’t regret any second I have spent playing just because of the excitement and adrenaline it brings and all of the people I’ve met through it. Also, how I have grown as a person through my coaches teaching me lessons or talks with my teammates or bad games or good games. I was drawn to the sport since I was in fifth grade. I played in third grade but I wasn’t really committed to it. In fifth grade my cousin Matthew Mccoy used to work with me all the time and shoot around with me. After his passing in 2018 I wanted to do this for him and accomplish all I can to make him proud,” shared Parke.
Question 5: How would your coaches and teammates describe you?
“I feel like my coaches and teammates would describe me as funny, kind, reliable and passionate,” said Parke.
Question 6: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gained from a coach over your years playing any sport?
“Probably, from Coach Joe Maxwell, no matter if your shots aren’t falling, be the noticeable hardest worker out there,” stated Parke.
Question 7: How do you manage your athletic responsibilities and other outside recreational and non-recreational activities?
“It is really difficult managing my academics with my athletics because you’ll have a late night basketball game and then a test the next day or loads of homework but no time to do it with practice and games. You just have to sit down and do it and be committed to it because without academics, you’re not going to be able to get in college, let alone play basketball for the next level without it. That’s what I want to do so, I understand that I have to do both in order for my goals to happen,” explained Parke.
Question 9: What’s the biggest lesson you have picked up from playing sports?
“Individual talent means nothing because basketball is a team sport, and you cannot play the game as 5 individuals and expect to win. My team, this year and last year, experience how it is to play with just individual talent and it will literally take you nowhere, but if you play as a team, you can honestly be unbeatable in every atmosphere just as long as everybody is locked in,” shared Parke.
Question 10: How long have you been playing basketball? How would you describe yourself as a player?
“I have been playing basketball since I was in third grade. I would describe myself as passionate and devoted to basketball. I spend countless hours shooting outside of my house, in the gym early in the mornings, in the weight room, on Sunday’s shoot arounds in the Way of Holiness Church gym, traveling to Bridgeport to train with Jarrod West or traveling countless hours to compete with very talented teams,” said Parke.
Question 11: What has representing Buckhannon-Upshur as a student-athlete meant to you? What’s your best memory?
“Representing B-UHS has been a privilege and representing Buckhannon-Upshur in my opinion means that you’re not going to give up no matter the circumstances. You’re always going to get it you’re 100% all the time no matter what because that’s just how it is. My favorite memory is probably after beating university this year, at University, just because that means we’re going to have sectionals at our home court, which hasn’t happened since Hanna and Lauren played. Nobody really expected us to beat them and I think it sent a message to the whole state and the locker room afterwards was just amazing; we were all going crazy because we’re all just one big family. I think we’ve all bought into the idea and I think we’re ready to do even more than that,” explained Parke.
Question 12: Are there any short-term goals you’d like to accomplish in the next few months to a couple of years? What about in the future 10 years or more down the road, where do you think you will end up? College plans?
“My short-term goal is to make it to Charleston to compete for states and then take home the championship title. In the next 10 years, I hope to be playing basketball at the next level, whether that be D1, D2 or D3, just as long as I find the right school that is fit for me,” expressed Parke.
Watch for next week’s edition of The Record Delta to see who is in the “sport”-light.