March 22, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State University volleyball head coach Todd Kress announced today that 6-foot-3 outside hitter and middle blocker, Gabrielle “Gaby” Rivera, will receive an Athletic Grant and Aid to attend and compete in volleyball at the University next fall. Rivera, a native of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, is the third member of the 2005 signing class and is perhaps the top recruit Kress has landed during his tenure at Florida State.
A model and the daughter of a former Puerto Rican National Basketball Team member, Rivera has been a part of the Puerto Rican Volleyball National team since 2001. She competed in the 2002 NORCECA Tournament in Salt Lake City and led the Youth National Volleyball team to a Bronze medal. Furthermore, she has been named the Most Valuable Player and made numerous all-star teams over the years.
Seminoles.com had a lengthy interview with Rivera recently and got to know the future Florida State Seminole:
Full name: Gabrielle Paulette Rivera
Parent’s names: Félix and Gloria
Siblings first names and ages: Only child.
Parent’s profession: my mother’s a college professor in the “Universidad del Sagrado Corazón” (University of Sacred Heart)
High School Name: Academia San José High School
City/Country: Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Seminoles.com: You are a very accomplished volleyball player. Tell us about some of the honors you have received while in school or club volleyball.
GR: I have been a part of the Puerto Rican Volleyball National Team, since 2001. I played in the 2002 NORCECA Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah with the Puerto Rican Youth National Volleyball Team, in which we got the 3rd place Bronze medal. I played with the Puerto Rican Junior National Team in the World Championship in Thailand in 2003. I played with the PR Junior National team in the 2004 NORCECA Tournament in Winnipeg, Canada, in which we won the 3rd place Bronze medal and a spot to go to the 2005 World Championships in Turkey in July.
I have also had the chance go to the Sacramento Volleyball Festival in 2003, in which we won 3rd place from 330 teams. I also had the chance to travel to Cuba and play with the club team “Criollas de (of) Caguas”, to scrimmage against 5 Cuban teams to play eights games in which we lost only one.
“Since the first time that I ever received a letter from FSU, I knew that it was the place for me.”
I have played with the Varsity Team since I was in the 7th grade with coach Julio “Buyín” Camacho, when he would invite me to play with them in different tournaments. When I entered high school, I played all four years with the varsity team.
Seminoles.com: Anything else?
GR: I was a member of the LACC Division II champions in 2001-2002 and named Most Outstanding player (2001-2002) and Most Valuable Player (2002-03). Also, I was an all-star varsity player in 2002 in the Colegio San Ignacio Tournament, champions in the Perpetuo Socorro tournament, Most Outstanding Player Varsity 2003 in Perpetuo Socorro’s tournament, named to the all-star games from 2001-2003. Furthermore, I was named the “Best Universal Player” in 2003-2004 and was Co-Captain of my varsity team in 2003.
You could have gone to school anywhere. Ultimately, why did you choose to attend FSU?
GR: Since the first that I ever received a letter from FSU, I knew that it was the place for me. I chose Florida State University for many reasons. The first reason is the solid academic program. FSU has one of the best communication and theatre programs in the United States.
The second reason is the volleyball program, in particular, coaches Todd Kress and Rita Buck-Crockett. Their vision, determination and dedication to make our program No. 1 in the NCAA convinced me that I wanted to be a SEMINOLE! I am not afraid of hard work, and I am willing to give 100 percent to win a national championship with the Seminoles!
My new teammates are amazing girls and great players, I know that this year (2005) we will have a great team, and in 2006 some great recruits are coming, so I definitely feel that we will get far.
Another reason I chose FSU was the campus and the people. Everyone was so nice and accepted me with open arms. I already have my “family away from family!” Marri, Rita’s daughter, and I are good friends now, and are practically sisters!
Another reason that I chose FSU was the climate. The climate is very
important to me since I am an “island girl”, I have never been accustomed to cold, cold weather, and I don’t know how that would have affected me. I could go on about why I chose FSU, but I would never finish!
Talk about your individual goals both on and off the court and what you hope to accomplish during your four years at FSU.
I have been part of the Puerto Rican Volleyball National Teams since 2002, and have traveled literally around the world. After college I want to play professional volleyball in Europe and be able to go to the 2008 Olympics with the PR National Team, and do what no other PR team has done: bring home the Gold medal.
Other than the volleyball court, I am also a model here in PR, and have modeled in the San Juan Fashion Week, and I also belly dance. But what I really expect to accomplish in FSU is to win a National Championship (four would be even better!). But what I expect to get out of my four years in FSU is the experience and maturity that I will need to face real life, and a degree in my major to be able to get a good profession.
Seminoles.com: Your parents were born in the states. Why did your family move out of the country?
GR: My grandfather was Puerto Rican and was part of military. He met my grandmother in Oklahoma (where she was born). My mom was then born in San Antonio, Texas. But then when she was still really young, they all moved here because of the military (and because my grandfather’s family was here). My two aunts were then born here. My father was born (and raised) in New Jersey to a Puerto Rican family. He played basketball at St. Peter’s College, and later changed to the University of Sacred Heart here in PR, where my mom taught (and still teaches in today). My dad kept playing basketball here in PR. He played professional and for the Puerto Rican National Basketball Team. My dad became known as “El Zurdo”…which is “The Lefty” in Spanish. He is known for his three- pointers and his height: 6’10.
Semnioles.com: What do you plan to study?
GR: I plan to study a major in Theatre (Performing Arts) and Communications.