By Robin Jovanovich
In college, Gabriela Hricko’s nickname was “The Rocket”. She said she didn’t think about it much back then, but she put her height and long appendages to good use on prep school and Ivy League tennis courts.
Growing up in Dover, Mass., outside Boston, Gabby’s parents were social tennis players but not tennis parents, she related. “Once I got into the sport as a teen, my parents did, too.”
Playing competitively happened organically for Gabby. “There was always an amateur or youth tennis tournament going on nearby and I liked competition.”
On the high school team at Milton Academy, she fought hard for the No. 1 singles spot. “I was vying with a classmate whom I didn’t get along with — and vice versa,” recalled Gabby. “We became good friends playing on the team and we still are. Tennis is one of those sports that creates lasting bonds.”
After playing singles and doubles for Harvard’s Division I Women’s Tennis team, she went to Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. “I followed my parents into medicine — my mom is a nurse, my dad a surgeon.” Gabby is an orthodontist who works in a group practice.
Five years ago, when she and her husband, George Angelich, a lawyer, decided to move out of New York City to Rye to raise their children; step daughter Gretchen 18, sons Cole 5, and Holden 3. An old friend, Jamie Bell, urged her to join Manursing Island Club. “I started playing tennis with Jamie, who was a year ahead of me at Milton Academy, when I was 14. Jamie went on to star on the Men’s team at Princeton.”
At first, Gabby wasn’t sure she would make a good club tennis player. “But I went to the tennis socials, which are fun, and soon found people to play with on my days off and on weekends.”
Unsurprisingly, she was fast-tracked to the Women’s A team, and this summer she and partner Ingrid Lopp won the Ladies’ Member/Member Tournament.
Gabby Hricko has loved getting back into “the zone” — hitting winners, outthinking her opponents, being dependent on herself. “Every match is different, which means tennis never gets old.”