Wright signs to play soccer at Kaskaskia
Contributed photo: Sullivan High School senior Gabbie Wright, front, center, is shown signing a letter-of-intent to play soccer at Kaskaskia College in Centralia, Illinois. She is surrounded by her parents Jessica Myers and James Wright. Kaskaskia coach Joseph Basch is pictured in the back.
COVID-19 has not produced a lot of positive stories. But that was not the case for Sullivan High School senior Gabbie Wright.
Wright was prepared to sign a letter-of-intent to play women’s soccer at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. But the signing was delayed twice because of Wright and the Saint Mary's coach having to be quarantined.
This gave Wright, the daughter of Jessica Myers and James Wright, a chance to reevaluate.
“The delay turned out to be a blessing,” said Wright, who signed earlier this month with Kaskaskia College in Centralia, Illinois. “I went down to Kaskaskia for a visit and fell in love with the place.
“It just seemed like the perfect place for me. They have a better nursing program at Kaskaskia than they do at Saint Marys. That played a big part in my decision.”
Wright, who said that St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina also was interested in her, knows that Kaskaskia is still close to home, but not as close as Saint Marys.
“It is still less than three hours away,” said Wright. “It would be close enough to go home when needed and close enough for my parents to come and see me play.”
Kaskaskia coach Joseph Basch is excited about having Wright join the Blue Devils.
“Gabbie will play goalie here at Kaskaskia College,” said Basch. “We feel that Gabbie has the ability to come in and play immediately for us in the fall.”
Basch said the film didn’t lie.
“I was able to see game film of her playing this fall,” said Basch. “I really liked what I saw with skills and aggressiveness.
“ Gabbie also possesses the prototypical height and wingspan of an elite collegiate goal keeper.”
Basch said that Wright will have to make adjustments to play on the next level, like any other incoming freshman.
“The adjustments from the high school game to the college game are the speed of play and the physicality,” said Basch. “And given Gabbie’s high work ethic, I’m sure it will be an easy adjustment for her.”
Outgoing Sullivan High School coach Kurt Hauger said he was pleased for Gabbie.
“I am so happy for Gabbie,” said Hauger, who recently resigned after coaching the Lady Arrows for 20 seasons. “Gabbie was a four-year letter winner.
“She became the full-time starter in goal as a sophomore. She has improved significantly each season.”
Wright said she will always think fondly of her time on the pitch for SHS.
“Kurt came and talked to me about playing,” said Wright. “I had so much fun playing for him. I hated to see him retire but selfishly was glad to have the chance to play for him.
“Also, I had some great teammates and great times playing soccer at Sullivan. It was something I will never forget.”
Wright was named all-Western Indiana Conference in 2019 and 2020.
“She was selected to the second team All-State by ISGSA this year,” said Hauger. “Gabby is a two-year captain.
“Gabbie has worked extremely hard improving her goalkeeping technique. Her size, speed and great ability with her hands will make her an exceptional goalkeeper in college.”
Hauger added that Wright finished her career third all time in saves at Sullivan with 509.
“She also had 27 wins, 20 shutouts and a goal-against-average of less than two per game,” said Hauger.
He added that Gabbie was one of the rocks on the defensive side of the ball for the last four years and she will be extremely difficult to replace.
“I am extremely excited for Gabbie,” said Hauger. “It is not as close as Saint Marys, but I hope to have a chance to watch Gabbie as her collegiate career develops.”
Wright said it always was a dream to go and play college soccer.
“This is something I have thought about since I became the starter in goal early in my sophomore season,” said Wright. “It still doesn’t seem real.
“I know I am going to have to get faster and stronger while keeping up with my school work. I look forward to the challenges ahead and am so thankful for this opportunity. I can’t thank my parents, coaches, including Kurt, and teammates enough for all their help and support. This would not have been possible without them.”