Hamline News

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Taking nationals

Recent graduate Gabby Koel ’17 celebrates her career on the national platform 

Considering Gabby Koel’s track record at Hamline, it’s no surprise the recent graduate wrapped up her athletic career by placing third in the NCAA DIII track and field tournament and earning All-American honors for discus. 

Koel spent her early years at Hamline participating in more than 10 different events, but by the time she was a junior, she knew that throwing was her specialty. “I’m so glad I found throwing,” she said. “That was my home. It was a great place for me to be.”

Going into the NCAA DIII tournament in Geneva, Ohio, Koel was ranked 17th for discus. Though it rained throughout the event, Koel managed to jump up to second during the first of the two flights. After the second flight, Koel came out ranked third.

“I had my best throw of the year in the pouring rain at nationals,” she said. “The second-place woman did jump me, but I was just psyched to be there at nationals.” 

But Koel is never one to take all the glory. “I had an amazing coach,” she said. “Josh Blaschko ’10, he’s just amazing. We got three All-American throwers out of the four we brought, all of them seniors. It was a great way to end.”

Koel didn’t only shine on the field. She was involved in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee for three years and held two jobs her senior year, working for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and Dungarvin, a residential support services facility. She majored in public health sciences and minored in sociology and exercise science, and her cumulative GPA of 3.7 is proof enough that she took both halves of “student-athlete” seriously.

When asked how participating in track and field affected her time at Hamline, Koel said: “It made my experience so much better. Being in athletics gives you so many connections—not even with just your teammates but people in other sports.” 

Though leaving Hamline, Koel ended with a note of optimism: “I’ll definitely be back next year to cheer and watch.”