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Sports Person of the Week
Hartt Enjoys Happy and Healthy Senior Season
Senior captain Gilly Hartt rebounded from a torn ACL to garner All-Shoreline Conference First Team accolades on behalf of the Old Saybrook girls’ lacrosse team this year. (Photo courtesy of Gilly Hartt)
Gilly Hartt made a triumphant return to the field for the Old Saybrook girls’ lacrosse team this spring. Gilly rebounded from a major injury to have an All-Conference season with the Rams, while leading the team to the Shoreline final as a senior captain midfielder.
Gilly’s start to her lacrosse career at Old Saybrook went exactly as she wanted. Gilly scored 29 goals and had 21 assists in her freshman year and then followed that up by earning All-Shoreline Conference First Team honors for her sophomore season.
With all the good that came during the first half of her high school experience, Gilly experienced a huge setback as a junior when she tore the ACL in her left knee while participating in a prospect day at Endicott College in November 2019.
“About 10 minutes into the first drill, I went to dodge the player defending me and, when I did, my left foot planted into the turf. When I went to shift my weight and change direction, my left foot stayed in the same spot, and the rest of my body turned,” Gilly says. “I immediately dropped to the ground and heard something crunch. The trainer took me to the sidelines and did an evaluation on my knee and said it was most likely an ACL.”
Following the injury, Gilly went back home with her parents and had surgery to repair her ACL in December 2019. It took nine months for Gilly to recover, and she says that it felt like an eternity. In the meantime, Old Saybrook saw its 2020 season get canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which also presented problems in terms of Gilly’s recovery.
“Doctor’s visits became virtual, and physical therapy became impossible to schedule with capacity restrictions. Checking my progress was so much harder once my surgeon couldn’t see my knee in person,” says Gilly. “The pandemic also closed gyms, which forced me to make do with the 20-pound dumbbells my family found in our basement and a yoga ball. It was not ideal for my workouts designed for my knee rehab to say the least. My mental and physical health dropped with the lockdown, and staying motivated was nearly impossible.”
As Gilly worked her way back from her injury, she became determined to finish her high school career in style. Gilly accomplished her goal by scoring 33 goals and dishing out 14 assists as a senior on her way to another All-Shoreline First Team selection. Along the way, the senior captain helped Old Saybrook finish the year with an overall record of 15-2, advance to the championship game of the Shoreline Conference Tournament, and also notch a first-round victory in the Class S State Tournament.
Gilly felt proud about how the Rams battled all season. Although Old Saybrook wasn’t able to come away with a title, the team posted an undefeated regular-season record of 13-0, and Gilly considers that a massive accomplishment.
“I’m beyond proud of my team this year,” says Gilly. “Everyone got along so well and we all had so much fun, even with COVID restrictions. Everyone was coachable and attentive. We all played with passion and our heart. I couldn’t have pictured a better way to end my high school career as a Ram.”
Gilly appreciates the support that she received from her fellow senior captain Bridget Kawecki, as well as Rams’ Head Coach Dick Shriver, throughout the 2021 season. Coach Shriver was impressed with how Gilly stayed focused in the midst of dealing with a significant injury. Shriver believes that Gilly has a solid career ahead of her when she goes off to play lacrosse at Endicott in the fall.
“Gilly has the skillset that enables her to play at the highest level of girls and women’s lacrosse. Gilly is on her way to being a great competitor at the college level. She has the poise, the experience, and the ability to keep her head in the midst of pandemonium on the field,” Shriver says. “Gilly works hard to improve her shots and other aspects of play. Above all, Gilly is a team player who plays to win the game, not to drive up her own scoring record. She has great judgment on the field, having a good sense of what to do at all times, given the score and time left to play.”
Shriver has been one of Gilly’s biggest supporters over the past six years, having served as an assistant coach with her middle school team before coaching her at the high school. Gilly says that Shriver has inspired her to give everything she has to become the best lacrosse player she can be.
“Coach has helped lead me and the team toward many successes and seen me personally at my worst on and off the field as I struggled with my torn ACL,” says Gilly of Shriver. “He is not only my coach—he is my role model and inspiration to work harder on my play both mentally and physically. He has become someone important to me who I can always talk to and ask for help.”
Gilly is now getting ready to continue her lacrosse career and pursue a degree in nursing at Endicott College. Gilly was inspired to study nursing after taking a 2019 school trip to Honduras, where she teamed up with a bunch of fellow students a few teachers to go scuba diving to research the Mesoamerican Reef.
“While in Honduras, I got to experience culture shock like never before, but in a good way. Coming back from the trip, I realized how much I wanted to travel and also care for those in need of medical help,” Gilly says. “I did an internship at the Shoreline Clinic in Westbrook, which is where I found out about becoming a travel nurse. This career choice will be a great option for me to follow my career and dreams at the same time.”