As a little girl, Katie Avila didn't spend much time indoors putting on makeup or playing with dolls. She spent most of her time outside shooting hoops with her two older brothers.
That taught her a lot about toughness on the court, and is one of the reasons why she became one of the most prolific players in Tehachapi Warrior basketball history.
So where is she now?
For starters, the now 25-year-old resides in Fullerton with her new husband Joseph, who she met while attending Cal State University Fullerton and recently married on June 14, 2014.
To top that, she just recently graduated from CSUF with her master's in public health gerontology and spends her days as a program coordinator for Placentia Senior Center — a job she thoroughly enjoys.
"I adore my seniors and if I won the lotto, I would work there forever," she said. “My long term goal is to own my own Alzheimer’s home. I imagine it turning into a home for all my family and friend’s families who need care, which I would be perfectly happy with, as I love working with older adults and always have.”
And as if balancing a full-time job and spending time with her new hubby wasn't enough, Avila-Morales still finds time for her first love — basketball — coaching the girls varsity team at Valencia High School in nearby Placentia.
However, as much as she is a Tiger today, Avila-Morales said she will always be a Warrior at heart.
As a Warrior, the 5'11" forward played all four years on the varsity basketball team, and was the SSL MVP in her junior and senior seasons, averaging 16.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in her senior year.
Tehachapi also won four SSL titles during those four seasons Avila-Morales played, going undefeated in league except for in her senior year, when the Lady Warriors lost to Bakersfield Christian and Arvin.
Avila-Morales was also an All-Area selection every year except as a freshman, and was nominated for the McDonalds All-American team in her final year at THS, finishing her high school career as the school's all time scorer and rebounder, with 1,705 points and 882 rebounds.
Those numbers eventually garnered the attention of a few college coaches, and after graduating from THS in 2007, Avila-Morales was offered a four-year year scholarship to Cal State University Fullerton, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in gerokinesiology.
As a member of the Division I Titans, Avila-Morales appeared in 93 games, and although being one of the smallest forwards in the Big West Conference, collected 38 rebounds during her senior year, including 11 in a game against Sacramento State. She also scored 14 points in that game, registering the first double-double of her collegiate career.
“That was one of my most memorable moments at CSUF,” Avila-Morales said. “And since I got a double-double, everyone in the crowd got coupons to In-and-Out for a free double-double burger. It was the best In-and-Out double-double burger I ever had.”
And while those days are behind her, Avila-Morales confesses to reflecting every now and again on those glorious days on the court, as well as living in Tehachapi.
“I miss the snow, the leaves falling, the changing colors, the sun shining and the roses blooming all in one day," she said. “We don’t get any snow days out here in Fullerton.”
However, a permanent return to the Land of Four Seasons seems a bit of a stretch, at least for now.
“We don’t know where we will end up, I guess wherever the wind blows us,” she said.
Finally, when asked what advice she would give to current Warriors student athletes, Avila-Morales had these words.
“You may think you have no time for practice and studying for that test tomorrow, but you do. Just get it done, no excuses,” she said. “Also have fun, enjoy your family, friends, coaches and teachers, because you will miss them, every single one of them.”