CEDAR LAKE, Ind. (BVM) — Gabi Comia found her competitive drive at a young age, and playing for the Hanover Central Wildcats has helped her become one of the top softball players in the country. Now she’s set on continuing to compete and improve her skills before joining the Florida Gators.
Comia is considered the No. 3 player in the Class of 2024 by MaxPreps and has proven to be a star in the batter’s box, but she wasn’t always the player she is today.
“My mom and dad played [in college],” Comia said. “I have an older brother and cousin (Branden) that play too … I just thought at a young age, if they can do it, they’ll push me to be the best I can be.”
🚨 #Uncommitted 🚨
OF @jared_comia through 11 games:
— Southwestern Illinois College Baseball (@BlueStormBSB) February 28, 2023
Comia continued to work hard on the diamond, and playing different sports, like basketball, helped feed her competitive spirit. However, competing in athletics can provide various obstacles, and for Comia, that came in the form of a knee injury.
“During my freshman year of varsity basketball, my knee had started bothering me,” Comia said. “I had fully torn my meniscus in my left knee. It was hard when I first found out because most people are like, ‘It’s not that bad of a recovery,’ but they went in and saw it was pretty bad, and I ended up sitting out my freshman year of softball and that summer of travel ball.”
An injury like that can potentially hinder an athlete’s mindset, but Comia remained determined to get back on the field, and this year, she’s helped lead the Wildcats to a 20-2 record. In just her second year of prep softball, the top recruit has a batting average of .654, three home runs and 32 RBIs, according to MaxPreps, and Hanover Central has arguably the best team it’s ever fielded, with Comia leading the way.
“This is the best season I’ve been a part of since I got here,” Comia said. “It’s great to be part of a team that’s changing our program that younger kids can look up to. It’s really cool to be part of a team that’s making changes.”
Aside from her prep career, Comia has also had the opportunity to play for the Beverley Bandits travel ball team, which has helped further her softball skills.
The Gators HAD to BITE on a TALENT like this! 🐊
Congratulations to the @Bandits05's Gabi Comia on her commitment to Florida! Thank you for making us a part of your journey @ComiaGabi@_TimWalton @Coach_AT @boschml#tagupElite #GoGators pic.twitter.com/M8PvhwNonZ
— tagup (@tagupSoftball) November 5, 2022
“I was 9 when I started playing with the Bandits,” Comia said. “I’ve been playing the best of the best, and when you grow up with the same kids, and you see everyone getting better, it’s pushed me to see that you have the ability to be good, but you also have the ability to be great.”
While Comia is still set on helping the Wildcats capture a state title, she’s also decided to attend Florida and continue her softball career in the SEC.
I am beyond blessed & excited to announce my commitment to The University of Florida! A special thanks to @_TimWalton, @Coach_AT, and @boschml for the opportunity to live out my dream. The next chapter is Blue and Orange…. GO GATORS BABY!! 🐊🐊🐊🧡💙 @Bandits05 @GatorsSB pic.twitter.com/M7h4GFWQCo
— Gabi Comia (@ComiaGabi) November 3, 2022
“Florida was my first visit, and after getting all the phone calls on Sept. 1, I narrowed down my options, and they were my top option,” Comia said. “At that point, I wanted them to be my first visit. I got off the plane in Florida and coach Walton welcomed me and both of my parents at the airport. The atmosphere down there really felt like a second home.”
Being the right fit wasn’t the only thing that drew her to Florida, but the consistent appearances in the Women’s College World Series (WCWS) and the continued success of the program helped Comia choose to become a Gator.
“Watching the WCWS as a young kid, Florida was always in it, and it’s always been a dream to go,” Comia said. “I’ve competed at such a high level, and I want to continue to do that. So the SEC has always been a dream to me.”
With aspirations to compete in the SEC, Comia has had to work hard, which has helped her become one of the best prep softball players in the nation, and having success like that can be distracting, especially when yearly rankings come out. However, Comia has been using those rankings as motivation from a young age.
“Back in eighth grade, the rankings meant so much,” Comia said. “As I’ve gotten older, I think it’s pushed me to keep that going and keep my name high so people continue to know who I am.”
Comia also knows you have to enjoy the moments you have now, and she wants current and future softball players to understand that.
“Enjoy being in high school,” Comia said. “Four years do fly by, and I’ve only been in school for three, but I’m going to be a senior in a blink of an eye. All the years of boring practices are worth it in the end because, at some point, it’s going to be over. Have fun with the time you’re given.”
Comia’s career in Gainesville won’t start for another year, but as she moves forward, she will aim to continue her success on the diamond and will be forever grateful that she found a sport that has helped her thrive on and off the field.
“It’s honestly been a lifestyle for me,” Comia said. “Getting out and meeting different people, playing against some of the best competition, it’s meant so much, and it’s played a big part in my life. It means so much because not a lot of kids get this opportunity, and I’m beyond blessed [to have it].”