AAU Track and Field Spotlight: Gabby Williams
Gabrielle, or “Gabby”, Williams is currently a sophomore at the University of Connecticut and has won not one, but two NCAA National Championships. However, her journey has been no cakewalk.
Gabby grew up playing basketball, with some of her first successes in the sport at AAU tournaments with the Jam on It Basketball Academy. However, she wanted to expand her horizons, so in the 7th grade, she tried her hand at track and field. Gabby immediately excelled in AAU track and field as well and went on to continue participating and dominating in both sports.
During her high school career, Gabby saw many successes:
- Placed 3rd in the AAU Junior Olympics in New Orleans in the heptathlon
- Won the Gatorade Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year
- Won the State Championship with her high school basketball team and was voted MVP
- Won the State Championship in the High Jump, 1600 M Relay, and 100 M Hurdles
- Won the Gatorade Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year for the 2nd year in a row
- Participated in the Track & Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR at 15 years old, making her the youngest
athlete to participate
- She placed 5th in the High Jump with a jump of 6 feet, 2 ¼ inches, which tied her with Amy
Acuff’s 1987 World Record
Unfortunately, Gabby’s successes would soon be brought to an abrupt halt. In January of 2013, Gabby was a junior, playing for her high school basketball team. During a game, Gaby tore her ACL, rendering her unable to play. Thus, Gabby spent the majority of the spring, summer, and fall rehabilitating her knee and visiting colleges that she was interested in attending for both track and basketball. Not long after meeting with both the track and basketball coaching staff at UConn, Gabby verbally committed to them and then signed her letter of intent in November.
After months of rehabilitation, Gabby received the good news that she was cleared to play basketball for her senior season. However, this happiness was short-lived. In January, Gabby re-tore her ACL during a high school basketball game. While this incident alone would have been devastating enough, at the same time, the announcement was made that Gabby had made the McDonald’s All-American team, which she would now be unable to participate in. Gabby made the best of it however, and still attended.
In June of 2014, Gabby graduated from high school and left Sparks, NV to begin her career at UConn. Once again, Gabby spent the majority of the summer and fall rehabilitating her knee and was cleared in time for basketball season. After 2 torn ACL’s, Gabby knew she had a lot of catching up to do, so she gave up track and field and shifted her focus to solely preparing for the upcoming basketball season. Her hard work and dedication paid off. She made the All-freshman team her first year and won the 6th Man Award for her conference. By her sophomore year, Gabby had secured two NCAA National Championships. Alongside these athletic accomplishments, she also made the Dean’s list and the All-Academic Team for her conference. Gabby is truly an inspiration and a fantastic example of what it takes to overcome obstacles to be successful.