She was a high school version of “The Natural.”
Whatever sport she played, Gretchen Rodrigues made it look easy. Three sports, three record-setting seasons and a multiple All-Star selection in all three. Like a handful of athletes who played their way to stardom at New Bedford High School, Rodrigues was arguably the best to ever wear the school’s red and white athletic battle garb. But even if she is just “arguably” the best, she was clearly among the most decorated.
Like Mother Nature is to weather patterns, Rodrigues seemed to dictate the success of her teams throughout most of her 12 seasons in the athletic areas at New Bedford High.
In the fall, she played soccer. Through the winter, she dribbled and shot her way through the basketball season. And, in the spring, she pranced and danced her way to success on the lacrosse field.
Here’s a brief summary of her successes.
In soccer Rodrigues was a four-year starter and two-time captain. She led her team in scoring as a freshman, sophomore and junior, was a four-time league all-star and three-time member of The Standard-Times All-Star teams.
Basketball was her best sport and her litany of honors and achievements in that sport are mind-boggling.
She was a four-year starter, earning league and Standard-Times All-Star recognition all four years. In her junior and senior seasons, Rodrigues was named Standard-Times Girls Basketball Player of the Year and capped her high school basketball career by winning the Dave Cowens Achievement Award as the area’s best senior girls basketball player. Other awards included being named to the Adidas Top 100 All-America Team (the only girls from Massachusetts to be so honored in her senior year) and being named Most Valuable Player in both the Big 3 Conference and at the Massachusetts High School All-Star game.
Among the school and individual records Rodrigues set in basketball were:
Career points for girls (1,390).
Career 3-point field goals for boys and girls (243).
Most 3-point field goals for boys and girls in one season (91).
Most 3-pointers for girls in one game (8).
Highest point average in one season for girls (23.9).
Most points in one game for girls (37). And that’s just a partial list.
To keep active in the spring, Rodrigues tried her hand at lacrosse.
Having never played the sport before high school, all she did was earn a starting spot for all four seasons and was the state’s leading scorer in both her junior and senior years with 122 and 145 overall points, respectively. Her three-year “league" scoring totals were 162 goals, 72 assists and 234 points.
The best female athlete to ever play at New Bedford? Who knows. But her annual star-like contributions in three different sports was eye-opening. Between the years 2000 and 2003 there certainly was no more dominating athlete — male or female — in the area than Gretchen Rodrigues.
Editor’s Note: This is the latest in a 100-day series of Buddy’s Best: Unforgettable 100, counting down each day from 100 all the way to No. 1. Read the series as it unfolds at SouthCoastToday.com/BuddysBest