By Agrippina Fadel
Sophomore Gabriela Caro is making waves in jiu-jitsu and wrestling and winning tournaments in both – all at just 16.
After training for seven years in jiu-Jitsu, Gabriela won gold on October 10 in the female juvenile middleweight blue belt division at No-Gi World Championship held by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation in Garland, Texas.
Since there isn’t jiu-jitsu at school, she practices at Jiujitsu4 Life in Coral Springs.
As a new member of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas wrestling team, she has already competed in two pre-season tournaments, according to her coach, Kenneth Gendason.
Gabriela has a bright future in the sport, he said, adding she will surprise a lot of people in the wrestling community.
“Except for a few local teams, most state wrestlers don’t know who she is yet.”
For the first time in the state’s history, Florida just sanctioned girls’ high school wrestling for the 2021-2022 season. Gendason explained that without official sanctioning, all previous state wrestling tournaments on the high school level had no qualifying system, and anyone could compete.
“The 2021-2022 season Florida will have a real state wrestling championship for high school girls,” he said. “A lot of female coaches locally and in the Orlando area have fought for this. It took several years for them to get the Florida High School Athletic Association on board,”
A resident of Watercrest, this isn’t the first time Gabriela’s made the news. Last April, she and her brother Santiago were taking online classes when their mother Lissette collapsed and went into full cardiac arrest. Gabriela called 911 and was able to do CPR on her mother with the operator’s help.
“If the kids were not home, who knows what would have happened to the mother,” said Gendason.
Lissette Caro had since made a full recovery.
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