Lauren Gabranski, a senior on the girls’ varsity basketball team at Fallston High School, was also named the U.S. Army Impact Player of the Month.

Gabranski was nominated by Cougars head coach Johnny Woods.

“Athletically, she is beyond reproach in terms of her hard work, her dedication and just her commitment,” Woods said. “… You look at her academics, she is a 4.7, 4.8 GPA young lady, been admitted to some of the most prestigious universities in America. At this point, she’s just waiting to make her decision. Very gifted academically; however, she puts in the work that makes that potential gift even better.”

Gabranski got into Virginia and Delaware and will hear back from Northeastern and William & Mary in the spring. Her top choices are Virginia and Northeastern. She wants to study something related to science or mathematics, perhaps biology or engineering.

Gabranski is interested in getting into the medical field. Her interest stems from when she tore both her ACLs in middle school and saw the impact doctors had on her. She also volunteers at a local hospital during the summer months.

“I’ve had a lot of firsthand experience with that and how important it is. I just want to give back to people in that way, too,” Gabranski said. “Plus, I just find science and the human body and everything like that crazy interesting.”

Gabranski, an undersized forward at 5-foot-5, is Fallston’s top rebounder, though her impact is felt beyond the court for the Cougars. She has spearheaded a Christmas gift bag drive for a Belcamp, Md., homeless shelter each of the past two years.

Players and their families donated items, including clothing and food. The varsity and JV teams put the gift bags together. Gabranski gathered all the names of the residents at the shelter so she and her teammates could write notes for each resident as part of their gift bag. Gabranski and several other players dropped the bags off at the shelter.

“It gives me a different perspective on how fortunate I am with everything that I’ve been provided with,” Gabranski said, “so it really helps me to feel good about giving back to people who are less fortunate.”

For Woods, a retired U.S. Army major, the values Gabranski displays are familiar.

“The army teaches us to put something else before yourself. It’s selfless service. It’s loyalty, and it’s commitment. She embodies all of that,” Woods said. “She would be a tremendous soldier, but I know she has a different path.”

Gabranski figures to continue making an impact on her community regardless of her college choice or career path.

“I think the sky is the limit with regards to how her impact and her reach on America will be done,” Woods said.

Watch video of the award presentation:

To nominate a student-athlete for the U.S. Army Impact Player award, visit

The Impact Player of the Month award is given to an individual who has impacted his or her team in a positive way, both on and off the field.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Johnny Woods

Issue 261: February/March 2020

Luke Jackson

See all posts by Luke Jackson. Follow Luke Jackson on Twitter at @luke_jackson10