Family is one of the biggest reasons why Gabby Martin got into athletics. After a remarkable four-year run at Daniel Hand, Gabby leaves high school having formed a whole new family of lifelong friends, while making an unforgettable impact on the Connecticut sports scene.
Gabby, who recently graduated from Hand, says that she “did what my siblings did” while growing up, and so sports have always been a big part of her life. After trying various sports, Gabby wound up starring for girls’ cross country, basketball, and golf squads at Hand, captaining each of them in her senior year. Along the way, Gabby proved an integral figure in the success of all three teams. Gabby led Hand golf to its first undefeated season and conference crown as a sophomore, helped the girls’ basketball team take the SCC title while earning SCC Tournament Most Valuable Player honors in her junior year, and then went out as a champion when Tigers’ girls’ hoops won its first Class L state championship since 1999 this winter.
“My freshman year, I always thought the seasons would go slow, but every year went by so fast,” Gabby says. “I give my family credit for my accomplishments, but my teammates also played a big part. We had an amazing and unique group. We were a close-knit team. For me personally, I just tried to work out every day with biking and running to stay active.”
Gabby amassed 1,020 points, 514 rebounds, 387 assists, and 381 steals, while making the All-SCC Team three times in her high school basketball career. She was twice named to the New Haven Register’s All-Area Team, was the paper’s All-Area Girls’ Basketball MVP this year, and was also the female recipient of the Register’s Athlete of the Year Award for all sports in the 2016-’17 school year. She also made the Register’s All-State Team, the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Class L All-State Team, and earned Academic All-State for her senior basketball season. On top of all this, Gabby was a three-time selection to the Tap-Off Club All-Area Team.
However, even with all of these accolades under her belt, Gabby feels the most proud about helping Hand girls’ basketball earn its spot at the top of the state this year.
“To win a state title is an incredible feeling, and it’s even more amazing to win it your senior year. It was also great to be a captain,” says Gabby. “It was crazy to win that state title, but Hand girls’ basketball is on the up and up and will continue to be that way.”
Hand girls’ hoops Head Coach Tim Tredwell says that Gabby is a game-changing player who always had a complete analysis of her club’s opponent on any given night. Tredwell adds that Gabby constantly put other people before herself by pushing her teammates to be at their best.
“She was easily one of the most dominant basketball players to ever put on a Daniel Hand uniform,” says Tredwell. “There were multiple times this season where she would take over a game, and I’d just look at my assistant and say, ‘She’s not going to let us lose.’ She was always capable of putting up huge numbers on the offensive end, but she was an absolute nightmare on defense. If she was guarding you, by the end of the first quarter, she knew your tendencies, your favorite move, and she probably knew what you were going to do before you did.”
“However, my favorite thing about Gabby was her unselfishness,” Tredwell continues. “As a gifted point guard, she always knew where and when to get you the ball, but it was so much more than that. She was an exceptional teammate. She was all about team first. She celebrated everyone’s success. If you were doing well, nobody was happier than she was. When future generations of Tigers come through here and want to know how it’s supposed to be done, I’ll be telling them all about Gabby Martin.”
Moving to the golf course, Gabby garnered All-Conference and All-State distinction every season, earning medalist honors by posting the low score at the conference championship in her sophomore and senior campaigns. In her four-year tenure, Gabby says the Tigers transformed from a team that was happy to simply play on the big stage into perennial favorites every time they hit the links.
“My freshman year, we were all just happy to make states, and it was the first time the team qualified. By sophomore year, we set the bar that the program was rising,” says Gabby, who also qualified for the New England Championship as a freshman and was an All-SCC honoree for cross country as a junior. “We took on a harder schedule my junior year, and we showed we are striving to be better. This past spring, we had our best finish [by taking third place] at states. The freshmen girls stepped up, too, and we showed we are moving up as a program.”
Gabby is now embarking on the next chapter of her life at Williams College in Massachusetts, where she will major in biology and play both basketball and golf. Gabby hopes that the next four years will be just as successful and enjoyable as the four years she spent at Hand.
“I want to prove my skills this year. For golf, I want to definitely play in some matches. My goal is go to nationals with both teams and win it for golf. Golf was fourth at nationals last seasons, so we hope to build on that,” says Gabby, who thanks her entire family, along with all of her Hand coaches and teammates. “Coming into Hand, I wanted to get my footing and a feel for the coaches and teams. For senior year, it was nice to know my set positions and be a three-sport captain. It was a cool experience to be in that captain position, and I was thankful to play three sports and build connections with so many people.”