In a year with talented players across the state, Hand senior guard Sara Wohlgemuth stood out as the best around both in terms of her individual talent and what she brought to the table as a teammate.
Wohlgemuth accomplished as much as a high school athlete can in her four years on the Hand girls basketball team. And that is culminated with her selection as the New Haven Register/GameTimeCT Girls Basketball State Player of the Year.
“I don’t know what motivates me. I just love the game so much,” Wohlgemuth said. “The hard work I put in is just part of my competitiveness. I always want to help the team and try to do that any way I can. Part of that is that when I wasn’t shooting well, trying to get my shot back. Even if that meant spending time in the gym after practice or before school. I am very competitive and losing is never an option.”
Wohlgemuth, like many athletes across the state and the country, will always be left with the question of what if?
Hand was the No. 4 seed in the CIAC Class L Tournament and set to play a quarterfinal against No. 21 East Lyme the day after word came down that the winter tournaments would not be held due to the coronavirus.
As a freshman, Wohlgemuth played on the 2017 Class L championship team and was a starter for the 2018 Class L semifinalist and 2019 Class L runner-up.
Her main focus of the 2020 season was getting back to Mohegan Sun for one more shot at a title.
Of course, the Tigers would have had to get through No. 1 Notre Dame-Fairfield in the semifinals.
Either way, with a win in the quarterfinals, Wohlgemuth would have played in state semifinals each of her four seasons.
It is a remarkable run and all she wanted to do was complete it, one way or another.
“We are all heartbroken and disappointed,” Wohlgemuth said a few days after the season was called off. “Honestly, we understand it’s for our safety and we respect that, but we wanted to see if there was any way we could compromise and maybe get the games compressed into a shorter amount of time, do something so we can all play, especially the seniors.”
There would be no reprieve and her season would end the same way so many did, lacking closure.
However, despite the dream of a championship being wiped out, there was little denying that Wohlgemuth was the best girls player in the state, this winter.
She leaves Hand as the third all-time leading scorer with 1,517 points.
This season, she averaged 31 minutes, 18 points, 8 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 3 assists per game, all team highs.
She was the New Haven Register All-Area MVP, a two-time CHSCA Class L All-State selection, three-time First Team All-SCC and the 2019-20 SCC Player of the Year, a McDonald’s All- American Team Nominee and named to the 2019-2020 New Haven Tap Off Club All-County Basketball Team.
“It has to be her competitive drive that separates her from everyone else,” Hand coach Tim Tredwell said. “In games she either plays 32 minutes or 31. if I pull her out for a quick rest it’s almost pointless because she is on the sideline jumping around and expending energy anyway.”
Wohlgemuth is not done with the game she loves and will play basketball at Southern New Hampshire University next year.