In the late '80s and early '90s, the WPI field hockey team enjoyed enormous success. Great players dotted those teams, which routinely advanced to the NCAA Tourney.
But perhaps the greatest player was Kim Gabis, without question the best field hockey goalkeeper, not only in WPI history, but perhaps in New England history. She also played basketball and softball at WPI, but it was in field hockey that she really made her mark.
What better measuring stick for a goalkeeper than shutouts. As a junior, Kim set a WPI and a New England Regional record for most shutouts in a season with 14. A year later, she broke those records with 15. She would complete her phenomenal career with a New England Regional record of 49 shutouts overall.
It was as a senior that Kim's likeness appeared in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" (December 2, 1991). That same year she was named a First-Team GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American in the At-Large category. (The year before, she earned the same prestigious award as a second-teamer.) Kim was also named a National All-Academic by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association, both junior and senior years.
In her senior year, Kim captained that squad to a No. 1 ranking in New England, and to a No. 10 ranking in the nation. The team scored 99 goals, while giving up-thanks in large part to Kim-only 5. The team finished 17-2-1 and competed in the NCAA Tourney. (In fact, her teams competed in the NCAA Tourney in each of her last three years.) In her junior year, WPI finished with a remarkable 18-1 record. The year before, it finished 17-2-1, and went far into the NCAA Tourney.
As a basketball player, Kim was a starting forward in 1989-90 and 1990-91. A serious knee injury would not allow her to play in the second half of her senior year.
In softball, as a starting outfielder, Kim earned the team's "best defensive player" award as a junior, but that ACL injury to her knee stopped her from playing as a senior. But it didn't stop her from contributing-she became the team's scorekeeper.
She earned two major WPI awards: the Carolyn McCabe Award (top sophomore) and the Varsity Club Award (top senior). She was a member of the Phi Sigma Society, Phi Lambda Upsilon Society, and Tau Beta Pi Association. She graduated with high distinction and a degree in biotechnology.
Kim earned a master's in counseling psychology and a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology.
She is currently a mental health counselor at Community Healthlink, providing therapy for those with chronic mental illness, and is an instructor in a national program, teaching the biology of nicotine dependence. She is the mother of six-year-old Jacob. She enjoys playing volleyball. Her Central Mass. teams won a gold medal in 2002 and a silver medal in 2003 at the Bay State Games. She has also served as an assistant field hockey coach at Bentley and Assumption.
For all her outstanding credentials, it is a pleasure to induct Kimberly (Gabis) Elbirt into the WPI Athletic Hall of Fame.