The way Fort Stockton senior Katie Villarreal balanced her daily schedule inspired everyone around her.
She motivated her teammates to do the right thing, but she also made a strong impression on the adults in her life.
One of those adults was Villarreal’s youth pastor, Aaron Owens.
“She’s faithful to everything that she does, she doesn’t just give up,” Owens said. “She has never shown any type of evidence or anything where she seems overwhelmed.
“She has done a tremendous job of finding a way to balance and prioritize things.”
In her time as a Prowler, Villarreal competed in cross country, basketball and track and field.
She was a letter winner in each sport, becoming a regional qualifier in cross country and helping the basketball team secure a bi-district championship in 2019.
On top of that, Villarreal maintained a high academic standing as a National Honor Society member and participated in band and color guard.
She also found time to give back to the community, helping in any way she could at her church.
Keeping everything in order was stressful for Villarreal at first, but she kept believing in herself and pushed through with the help of her faith and parents.
Villarreal ranks sixth of 144 graduates in Fort Stockton High School’s Class of 2021.
She is planning on attending Texas Tech to major in animal sciences.
Owens said he has seen Villarreal become a pillar for Northside Church the last five or six years.
The youth pastor can see the student-athlete accomplishing things far beyond her expectations in the future.
“She has a lot that she’s wanting to do, she’s the type of person when she’s got something on her mind nothing is really going to stop her,” Owens said. “The career path that she’s planning on going down fits her perfectly because she’s got one of the most compassionate hearts.”
Villarreal was drawn to Texas Tech after her brother attended the school, noticing the accomplishments he was able to achieve at the university in Lubbock.
Although her favorite subject in high school was English, Villarreal chose to study animal sciences because she enjoyed being around animals.
“I just thought that animal sciences was something that I could see myself doing and possibly becoming a veterinarian in the future,” Villarreal said.
She plans on taking the mentality she cultivated in high school to her next stop, hoping she can stay at the top through academics.
Villarreal won’t continue her athletic career at Texas Tech, but she learned some valuable lessons in sports that will carry on through her studies.
Being a leader and building bonds stand out.
“It’s not always easy working with everyone, but you always have to find a way if you want the outcome to be great,” she said. “I learned a lot of teamwork and team effort with it.”
With just a few days left until she walks the stage, Villarreal said her favorite memory of Fort Stockton is the city itself and the people in it.
She is ready to enter a new environment in Lubbock.
“It’s exciting to know that there’s new, bigger things than here,” Villarreal said. “There are more experiences and a lot more things to learn.”
Owens described Villarreal as a reliable person he could always count on.
“As her youth pastor, there’s times where I’m watching Katie’s demeanor and how she carries herself in conversation,” Owens said. “I think, ‘Wow, I could actually learn a lot from her.’
“She’s just that type of person.”
>>Follow Chris Amaya on Twitter at @OA_CAmaya
>> Academic Rank: 6 of 144
>> Sports: Cross country; Basketball: Track
>> Academic bio: Honor banquet attendee (four years); National Honor Society (two years); AB Honor Roll (four years)
>> Athletic bio: Cross Country (3 letters; Regional Qualifier 2019); Basketball (3 letters; Bi-District Champions 2019); Track (2 letters)
>> Activities: Band; Color guard; National Honor Society
>> College and major: Texas Tech University (Animal Sciences)
>> Goals for the future: To earn my degree in Animal Sciences and become a vet technician.
>> Favorite subject: English
>> Favorite book: Pride and Prejudice
>> Favorite musician: The Weekend
>> Role model: My parents: Oralia and Frank Villarreal; My older brother: Alexis Villarreal; My youth pastor and his wife: Aaron and Dinessah Owens.