Enrique Ybañez: Lifelong dedication finds success in two sports


Melissa Ybañez

Enrique Ybañez (12) looks on from the sidelines at his teammates on our varsity football team.

Avery Rosas, Sports Editor

As spring baseball rolls around, it reminds us of some of the fantastic student athletes that come out to play. Enrique Ybañez, a senior athlete on the varsity baseball and football teams, has impacted everyone around him, especially his younger brother, in ways that will last them a lifetime.

Ybañez plays several defensive positions in football as well as left field for the varsity baseball team. He feels that a specific aspect of his game allows him to be versatile in both sports.

“Speed plays into both games. You could play small ball in baseball, [and] football’s the same way,” said Ybañez. “And then just the way you read the ball in the outfield can translate to football, just a whole bunch of different ways.”

Despite his athletic talent, things have not always been easygoing for Ybañez. From troubles to coaches to trouble with motivation, he finds that certain things have allowed him to keep going.

“My brother [Elijah],” Ybañez said in response to being asked about his motivators. “He kept me going when life gets harder, [when] you start struggling. You have that backbone to keep you going, to motivate you.”

On top of the issues that he’s been able to get past on the field, he still has responsibilities as a student. For any student athlete, they know that the struggle to balance time between sports and homework is something that only adds to the pressure of those two individual endeavors.

Ybañez stated that it was harder, as a freshman, to get used to the uneven schedule that came with being in a sport and having the drive to keep up with school work. Of course now, he’s a senior with less classes and more time available to dedicate to his grind. Calling it, “more laid back,” he recognizes that now there’s more balance than there was in his earlier years.

In the time between freshman year and senior year, however, he still found that he had to work hard to stay on the field. With a minimum 2.0 GPA necessary to participate in school activities, Ybañez had no problem staying above and beyond that mark.

“You’re a scholar before an athlete,” Ybañez said he was told by his parents and coaches. “So if you don’t have grades, you don’t play. So, I think schoolwork motivates you to go and then if you’re good and you want to continue playing, you have to get your grades to be able to play.”

Ybañez (12) has also had one supporter by his side throughout the past 1.5 years, someone indispensable throughout his athletic and academic success.

“I’ve always been his biggest fan from the sidelines. And he has given me the same if not more back,” said senior Liliana Silva, Enrique’s girlfriend of almost two years. “[He’s] always making sure that he’s going to all my events and all of my sports and dance competitions. It is very much equal between the two of us as far as support and showing up for one another.”

His dedication to his partner is something that is very apparent to everyone around him, but can also be tied to everybody in his life. Being described as very family-oriented, he knows who is important to them and not only keeps them close but treats them well at the same time.

“He has always just been there for his family, which means that he gets it back from his family. So I feel like he’s very inspired by things that his parents have done [for him],” said Silva. “As well as seeing his siblings strive, [it] has also motivated him to not only be there for them but also for himself as well. He just knows his worth. So I feel like that also has a lot to do with it.”

Knowing his worth has definitely shown in his dedication to show his talent to coaches and win playing time, but he also knows how to show that worth with the brother that he now plays with. Elijah’s place on the varsity football team as a sophomore has stood out even more by the fact that he is now able to share the field with his brother Enrique.

“I would definitely say this last past football season just being able to be on the same field on varsity,” Ybañez (10) said, regarding his best memories with his brother Enrique. “We have always been winners. You know, it just feels good playing with him. He’s a really talented, smart football player and baseball player.”

Ybañez (12) acknowledges that his athletic talent could take him to a very nice career, but he and the ones around him understand that a successful sports career is a long shot even for the best high school and college athletes.

“I feel like as time goes on, I’ll either see if I can keep playing or not,” said Ybañez. “But I’m gonna just keep going until I can’t go anymore. [Just] see where it takes me.”

Although everyone around him knows that his life revolves around sports, they also know that he has passions that extend further than his proclivity to sports.

“As far as I know, he wants to be a vet when he’s older, he’s very animal loving,” said Silva. “And so he’s trying to get involved with the animal association. He loves animals.”

Being a passionate person in general, it makes sense that Ybañez has another outlet to express this profusion; and this passion, more specifically, is attributed to a very special person in his life.

“We had a dog and he was named Dodger, he loved him to death,” said Ybañez (10). “Sadly, he passed away a couple months ago, but he really loved him. He’d be a good vet.”