Making waves in water sports

SGHS Kendall Gilbert and Gabby Williams commit to NCAA Division 1 college sports

Kendall Gilbert and Gabby Williams secured coveted athletic scholarships to compete in Division 1 (D1) swimming and diving teams. The SGHS student-athletes took the next step to make it official by signing their National Letters of Intent. 

What makes this advancement even more impressive is that Scotia-Glenville CSD does not have a pool. Despite this, Kendall and Gabby were determined to pursue their passions and exceed expectations. Some of their main accolades are listed at the end of this article.

Kendall will swim for the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Gabby will dive for Le Moyne College

two student athletes sitting at table signing letters to play college sports
Kendall Gilbert and Gabby Williams

During the signing ceremony, Scotia-Glenville Athletics Director Jamian Rockhill expressed his admiration for Kendall and Gabby, saying, “To do that without a pool here at Scotia is truly at another level. It takes your efforts and your hard work. It takes patience and commitment. None of this can happen without your dedication and your own personal integrity,” he said.

Ms. Gamble from the Athletic Department handed Kendall and Gabby a token of appreciation for their accomplishments that included a T-shirt with the Tartan Teamwork logo, encouraging them to take the integrity and teamwork lessons they learned in high school with them to college.

coach proudly standing between two student athletes with a big smile
Kendall Gilbert, Coach Headwell, Gabby Williams

Scotia-Glenville merged with the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (BHBL) swim team in 2015. When Coach Sean Headwell took over the program in 2021, Kendall had been a year in, and Gabby joined in 2022. “Both girls have been a huge reason why the program has become successful in the water and on the boards,” said Coach Headwell. “Kendall’s hard work ethic in and out of the pool helped her make the NYS meet for the past three seasons in two individual events (200 Individual Medley & 100 Breaststroke) along with numerous Relays,” he said.

Competitive spirit at early age

swimmer holding award and coach standing next to pool
Kendall Gilbert with Coach Sean Headwell

Kendall has been swimming competitively since she was five years old, joined the high school team as a freshman, and says her favorite memories from school are from swimming. She has won numerous awards and titles, including the MVP award, most improved award, and a sectional title with her team. However, what has meant the most to Kendall is being able to represent Scotia-Glenville swimming alongside her team and her best friends, Tia Jack and Juliet Percenti.


“A special thank you must go out to Coach Headwell for helping me on this journey as well as my parents and siblings who gave their constant support.” -Kendall Gilbert

three students sitting together smiling
SG swimmers Juliet Percenti, Kendall Gilbert, and Tia Jack

After visiting the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Kendall said she knew almost immediately that she wanted to continue her swimming career there. Kendall is excited to be able to fulfill her lifelong dream of competing in Division 1 sports.

Jumping in the deep end

Gabby, on the other hand, was a competitive gymnast for about ten years before Kendall asked her to be a part of the school’s swimming and diving team as a diver. Gabby says she was unsure at first but was convinced by Kendall to start diving.

diving off a board into pool
Gabby Williams

As a gymnast, Gabby had already established her mental game and air awareness. So, when it came to water sports, some elements came naturally. She was able to refine her technique and improve on difficulties through club diving in the off seasons. Gabby went on to become the Section 2 Division 2 Diving Champion in the varsity season of her senior year. “With a score of 431.45, I was just shy of the state cut but I will keep working to improve more,” Gabby said.

student athlete smiles with coach
Gabby Williams and Coach Headwell

“The hard work mentality that Gabby brought with her from her gymnastic career really helped her make the transition into the sport of diving,” said Coach Headwell. “But the best part of Gabby is her willingness to help the team outside of her role as a diver and contribute as a swimmer if we needed to swim in relays or an individual swimming event (50 Freestyle),” he said.

Gabby has enjoyed getting to know the girls from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (BHBL) and their different personalities. She said each one of them has taught her lessons that she will cherish moving forward.

Gabby Williams with friends the O’Malley’s: Kaylee, Riley, Sierra, and Andrea

“Division 1 athletics has been something that always intrigued me. I was not expecting that diving would be how I got there but I am so thankful to be diving at this level.” – Gabby Williams

Gabby was thrilled to hear that she had been offered a spot on the Le Moyne swimming and diving team. She says that she looks forward to being part of a college team because there will be a support system and friends to bond with throughout the years. Her spot on the BHBL-SG swim team is among her fondest memories.

“It is very sad to be leaving the SGHS community. There are many memories that have taken place while at this school. My favorite of all has to be when our team were declared the Section 2 Division 2 Champions. Everyone had a smile on their face, knowing that their hard work and determination is what got them there. Pictures will never live up to that moment of pushing Coach Headwell into the pool and everyone jumping in after him. This team has become a major part of who I am, and I wish them all well for the 2024 season.”

“Kendall and Gabby will go down in the record books as two remarkable athletes who achieved their goals despite the odds,” said Superintendent Swartz. “They are an inspiration to all those who face obstacles in pursuing their dreams. We know they have the drive to succeed; we wish them the best of luck.”

Awards and accomplishments

Kendall Gilbert

Sophomore Year
  • Member of the Section 2 Division 1 Championship 200 Medley Relay (Breaststroke Leg).
  • Member of the 200 Medley Relay ( Breaststroke Leg) that finished 2nd and was selected as an ALL-AMERICAN Top-100 in the country.
  • A Finalist in the 100 Breaststroke with an 8th place finish
Junior Year
  • Member of the Section 2 Division 1 Championship 200 Medley Relay ( Breaststroke Leg) as well as being a part of the NEW S-G Record holder in the event.
  • A NYS Meet Qualifier in the 100 Breaststroke & 200 Individual Medley.
  • A NYS Meet Qualifier in all 3 Relays- 200 Medley Relay, 200 Freestyle Relay, 400 Freestyle Relay
  • A Finalist in the 100 Breaststroke with a 6th place finish and a Finalist in the 200 Freestyle Relay with a 10th place finish.
Senior Year
  • swimmer wearing suit and cap with goggles on top
    Kendall Gilbert

    Captain of the Section 2 Division 2 Championship Team

  • Won The Section 2 Jane Whitehouse Scholar-Athlete Award.
  • Section 2 Division Champion in the 100 Breaststroke, 200 Medley Relay (Breaststroke Leg), and 400 Freestyle Relay
  • A NYS Meet Qualifier in the 100l Breaststroke and 200 Individual Medley.
  • A NYS Meet Qualifier in 200 Medley Relay, 200 Freestyle Relay, and 400 Freestyle Relay
  • A member of the 200 Medley Relay that finished 2nd at the NYS Meet with an ALL-AMERICAN time and NEW Section 2 Record.
  • A Finalist in the 100 Breaststroke with a 4th place finish.
  • A Member of the 400 Freestyle Relay that finished 2nd at the NYS Meet.
  • National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA) Scholar-Athlete ALL-AMERICAN.
  • Also part of numerous pool records being broken during this season. BHBL’s Pool Record in the 200 Medley Relay and 200 Freestyle Relay, Niskayuna’s Pool Record in the 200 Medley Relay, Watkins Glen’s Pool Record in the 200 Freestyle Relay, and Ballston Spa’s Pool Record in the 200 Medley Relay.

(top of page)

Gabby Williams

mother hugs daughter from the side with folder on table in front of them
Gabby Williams and mom Anne Marie

Junior Year

  • Finished 11th in the 1 meter Diving at the Section 2 Division 1 Championship
  • Set both of Scotia-Glenville Team Records in both the 6-Dive Event and 11-Dive Event
Senior Year
  • Section 2 Division 2 1-Meter Diving Champion
  • Member of the Section 2 Division 2 Championship Team
  • Was a Finalist for the Section 2 Jane Whitehouse Scholar-Athlete Award
  • Broke both of Her School Records in the 6-Dive Event (244.70) and the 11-Dive Event (431.45)

Check out the district’s Facebook page for more photos from the signing ceremony.

(top of page)