In partnership with the Matt Wyble Team of Century 21 New Millennium, the Severna Park Voice’s Student-Athlete of the Month series seeks to recognize the many student-athletes in our area who make an impact not necessarily by way of statistics or stardom, but by their unique contributions. The quiet leader, the solid role player, the glue guy or gal, the community voice on or off the field — those are the kids we seek to recognize. Do you know a young person in our community making a positive impact through or alongside sports? Nominate them by contacting Colin Murphy at email@example.com.
Grace Gibbs has been a member of 12 varsity teams in her four years at Broadneck, and as impressive as that is, it might not even be the most impressive fact about her.
While maintaining peak academic standing and competing for the Bruins in soccer, track and field, and lacrosse, Gibbs has also found time to nurture two passions simultaneously: art and the environment. Her nature-themed art has garnered multiple awards and recognitions, and she is interested in studying environmental science and art after graduating from Broadneck.
“I really enjoy art, especially painting,” said Gibbs, who won a Maryland Foundation of Women’s Clubs art contest in 2019 and had her work displayed in the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore in 2017. “I find it hard sometimes to express myself vocally, so I really enjoy being able to show a part of myself through visual art. I think it’s really cool how people can connect with art too. I am also passionate about protecting the environment. As long as I can remember, I have loved the outdoors and I want to be able to protect it. I want to show the connection between humans and nature in my art.”
It’s not just through art that Gibbs is able to show connections. Her Broadneck coaches know her as someone who binds her teams together through her leadership.
“She is a consummate team player and is always willing to do what is best for the team,” said girls soccer assistant coach Mike Malone of Gibbs, who helped the Bruins to a state championship as a sophomore in 2017. “Grace is among the best one-on-one defenders in the county and has been an integral part of the success we have achieved during her time. She has been an excellent leader both on and off the field. Our underclassmen have all benefited from her presence.”
As a defender in both soccer and lacrosse, Gibbs does the unheralded dirty work that every team needs. Broadneck lacrosse coach Katy Kelley said that in addition to her strengths and physical tools as a player, Gibbs can always be counted on to lead by example.
“Grace has a humble demeanor but is quite the competitor,” said Kelley. “She is a huge contributor both defensively and in transition for us.”
Gibbs said that on the playing field, she knows her strengths lie in her actions, not her words.
“I am definitely not the most vocal player on any of my teams, but I think I do a good job of leading by example,” Gibbs said. “I am not very flashy when I play, but I feel that I always get what needs to be done, done. My biggest goal in any sport I am playing is that I go my hardest. I think that my work ethic is one of my strongest attributes when it comes to being on a team.”
The approach has led her to success beyond soccer and lacrosse Gibbs has a versatile role for the Bruins’ indoor track and field team, competing in the 300-, 500- and 800-meter runs as well as the long jump and triple jump. This winter was her first season competing in triple jump, and she became the school’s all-time record holder in the event with a jump of 31 feet, 9 inches at the county championships.
Not surprisingly, Gibbs applies her way of tackling challenges to the classroom as well. She holds a 4.4. grade-point average and has taken AP and honors courses throughout her time at Broadneck, including three AP courses and 12 credits at Anne Arundel Community College as a senior. She is a member of the National Honor Society and vice president of the National Art Honor Society.
Even with all these activities, she still finds time to enjoy the outdoors through mountain biking and snowboarding.
After graduation, Gibbs will attend Juniata College in Pennsylvania, where she’s committed to play for both the soccer and lacrosse teams, and where she plans to major in art and environmental science.
Kelley believes Gibbs’ character is the foundation for her current and future success.
“Grace is athletically, artistically and academically successful but, even more impressive, Grace never seeks praise or recognition from others for her efforts,” Kelley said. “She simply works hard in everything she takes on, as she knows no other way, and strives for excellence in herself and her endeavors. I have no doubt she will do great things in her future.”