Northwest Herald Athlete of the Week: Marengo’s Gabby Christopher

Indians sophomore shortstop leads area with 15 home runs

Marengo’s Gabby Christopher is greeted by coach Rob Jasinski on a home run against Harvard in varsity softball at Marengo Thursday.

Name: Gabby Christopher

School: Marengo, so.

Sport: Softball

Why she was selected: Christopher had a monster week, hitting .667 (16 of 24) with eight home runs and 24 RBIs in seven games for the Indians during the week of April 8. She hit two homers in three consecutive games and leads McHenry County with 15 home runs.

Christopher is two homers from tying the team’s single-season record of 17, set by Veronica Ruelius in 2015 and Mariah Dionne in 2017. Ruelius now is an assistant coach for Marengo.

For her performance, Christopher was selected as the Northwest Herald Athlete of the Week in an online vote. Here is her Q&A with sports writer Alex Kantecki.

Marengo’s Gabby Christopher cruises home on a home run against Harvard in varsity softball at Marengo Thursday.

What is your mentality when you step into the batter’s box?

Christopher: I do my best to clear my mind. There’s always a deep breath that comes before stepping in the box, and I think that’s what has been so helpful clearing my mind. Regardless of the pitchers, my mentality is always the same with the same consistent confidence in myself knowing I have a job to do. I never go into an at-bat looking to hit home runs. I look to get my job done.

What’s the feeling like when you’re in a groove at the plate?

Christopher: Each at-bat comes with a different responsibility and all that runs through my head is what I need to do and nothing else. This year especially, I think that mindset has had everything to do with the success. All it took for me was being calm and having confidence in myself and my ability.

Who is your funniest teammate?

Christopher: My funniest teammate is freshman Macy Noe. I played with her for half a season a while ago and ever since we clicked instantly, and she’s the one I look to first when I need a laugh. She’s always there to make my mood better and listen to me, and I’m grateful to have someone who can make me laugh at any instant like her.

Do you have any rituals or superstitions?

Christopher: I have a few pregame rituals and superstitions, one of them being my white socks with our home uniforms. I always have to have my dirt-stained sliding leg sock on the left leg, and it always goes on first before my right. One of my biggest rituals before and after games is always a pregame and postgame prayer, as well as for practice. During travel season, my prayers usually just consist of myself, but during high school season I lead our team prayer before we take the field to start the game.

What is the best part about high school softball?

Christopher: My favorite part about high school season is being able to take the time to relax and make adjustments that would better myself for travel season. Whether that’s mindset changes or changes to my game entirely, I love to take the time during high school season to correct everything that I can and be able to come out of it an even stronger player.

What goals do you have for the rest of the season?

Christopher: I have a few goals for this season ... some of them simply being able to be the best factor for my team that I can be both offensively and defensively, as well as prolonging our season in the playoffs as far as we can. As for myself, one of my biggest goals would be breaking the [school’s] single-season home run record. However, that isn’t something that I strive for during my at-bats. Never did I believe I’d even come close to hitting 15 home runs at the start of the season. I’d be very happy just to end with those 15 if that is how the season plays out.

What is your favorite movie?

Christopher: “How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.” I remember watching this movie as a kid with my mom and seeing it again a few years later, and ever since it has become one of my favorite movies.

What is something people might not know about you?

Christopher: Something that people might not know about me is I have been playing softball since I was 3 years old. I took pitching lessons before I could even throw the ball overhand at 4, and this was because my sisters came to me as my biggest inspiration form a very young age. I joined my first competitive team at 5 playing with 7- and 8-year-olds. My love for this sport has been ongoing for 13 years, and I’m so grateful for that. As well, I joined my first A level travel team at the age of 7 playing with girls four years older than me with one of the best coaches I have ever played for. This sport has come as more than just a hobby and has become a part of my everyday life.

What is your go-to snack?

Christopher: Nerds Gummy Clusters. There are quite a few times I’ll walk up to the field for an early morning weekend game with a bag of them in my hand as my breakfast.