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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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From Mexico’s national team to Texas A&M courts

Photo by Photo By: Wesley Holmes
Montse Castro

When starting college, it can be difficult balancing studies and a social life. But for freshman Montse Castro, the real challenge is transitioning from playing for the Mexico U-20 national team to A&M volleyball.

“Obviously, she’s a freshman and it’s all new to her, but especially coming from Mexico,” junior teammate Emily Hardesty said. “I feel like it’s more just trying to get acclimated to the culture and her surroundings. I’m really pleased with what she’s done.”

Standing at 6-foot-7, Montserrat “Montse” Castro Narvaez is the tallest player on the A&M roster by four inches. She has two older brothers and was born to Jose Antonio Castro and María Lourdes Narvaez, both basketball stars in Mexico. Her father competed at the collegiate and national level.

“We are a tall family — the shortest of us is my mom. She’s 5-foot-11,” Montse Castro said. “I grew up in a basketball environment. All my life was about basketball. My dad basically put us in the world of basketball. I went through basketball until I realized it’s nothing I’m interested in.”

Castro said she began to consider different sports and other activities because she didn’t enjoy basketball. She began with cheerleading, but after dislocating her shoulder four times, the doctors ordered her to find something else. Chess was her next temporary hobby before finally finding interest in volleyball.

“In my second year of playing volleyball, I ended up with Mexico’s national team,” Castro said. “After [joining], I had some troubles with the national team, and I started looking for leaving the country. That’s a part of why I came here.”

Montse said she had several universities interested in her talents and garnered five official visits including A&M before deciding on her future in Aggieland. On her visit to Texas A&M, Castro particularly clicked with Spanish junior Kaysie Shebeneck.

“Montse and I are very close,” Shebeneck said. “When she came on her visit, I automatically tried to use my Spanish skills and she was like, ‘What are you even saying?’ She helps me practice my Spanish too. If she doesn’t understand something, I’ll try and say it in Spanish, but she basically just says, ‘Your accent is terrible.’”

Castro’s teammates have reassured her during practice and competition that she is developing as a player. Although Castro has not officially stepped onto the court as an Aggie, junior Jazzmin Babers said she sees the progression of the program with younger players like Castro.

“I think she’s going to be a great hitter,” Babers said. “She’s 6-foot-7, you can’t hit past her. As soon as she gets the rhythm of the offense and everything, she’s going to be crazy good. She’s going to be fun to watch.”

As far as her future goes, Castro said she is unsure of whether she will return to play for Mexico’s national team. As for her near future academically, she said she is planning to switch majors from biomedical science to biomedical engineering. Overall, Castro said she plans on focusing on the love she has for the culture of the 12th Man.

“The 12th Man, I love that,” Castro said. “I fell in love with everything, and I realized it’s where I’m supposed to be because I went to my first college football game. My favorite moment was when they picked me up at the airport. They gave me a piñata full of candies with balloons.”

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