Gabe came to Stanford having never played ultimate. He saw a flyer in his freshman dorm and decided to check out a tryout. By the end of his freshman year, he began to show athletic prowess, but was still a huge liability with the disc (e.g., could not throw a flick). This left him with hardly any points on the Sunday of regionals, and zero points in the regional finals. Nonetheless, Gabe was named a captain for the following season, chosen for his diligent work ethic and love of the game.
Throughout his sophomore year, Gabe continued to improve. He took on bigger defensive match ups and improved his throws a bit. Still, he had little confidence with the disc and would sometimes hide in the stack.
By his junior year, Gabe had become one of the best defenders in the country, even though his name was still unknown outside of the Southwest. On every defensive point, he would want the toughest match up on the line. When the other team had a player that people would talk up, he would respond, “Nah nah, he’s mine, he’s not gonna touch the disc.” While that claim wasn’t always true, he frequently shut down, skied and layout D’d some of the best players in the country in big games. By the end of the season, even as a first-team all region player who had just made Austin Doublewide, Gabe was constantly looking for feedback from his teammates and coaches on ways to improve.
This year, watching from afar, there is no doubt that Gabe is the best and most complete player in the college game. On defense, he can guard cutters and handlers, and he has a lethal mark, filthy layouts and great field awareness. On offense, he can play center handler and break any mark going every other for 70 yards without breaking a sweat, or he can cut downfield and sky a pile for the goal. His improvement as both a player and a leader is unprecedented.
Aside from his play, he has the paradigmatic comportment of a Callahan winner. On the field, he is an extremely honest, spirited player who is always playing with a smile, lifting his teammates and celebrating his opponents’ successes. Off the field, he shreds on the guitar, is a masterful beat-boxer and has vocals that make the gods weep. He does volunteer work on top of his part-time job, all while being a first-generation college student at Stanford.
You’ve made many people so proud, Gabe. Buena suerte mi pez, I’m rooting for you!
-Elliott Chartock, Stanford 2017 Callahan NomineeView Nominee Video