One of the Yankton Gazelles’ best returning golfers will extend her competitive career beyond this spring.

Senior Jillian Eidsness has signed to attend Dordt University and compete in women’s golf for the Defenders. She officially signed in January and held a signing event at YHS earlier this week.

“It came together before Christmas,” Eidsness said. “It’s definitely a bonus to start the season without the pressure of deciding where to go to college.”

The dream of playing golf in college was something her father, Will, helped instill in her, Eidsness said.

“I really love the game and dad encouraged me to take this opportunity,” she said. “I was grateful for the opportunity when it presented itself.”

Eidsness won all-state honors a year ago, tied for 23rd as the Gazelles earned a sixth-place finish. She also earned full honors from the Southeastern Dakota Conference.

Eidsness was reportedly in contention for a sophomore varsity position, but the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID.

“We finished tied for second the year before and were hoping to make a run at O’Gorman that year,” Yankton head coach Brett Sime said. “But she made the most of her time. That year, she played golf with her father almost every day.

Eidsness’ work ethic is also found on the basketball court, where she became a starter for the Gazelles.

“Jillian is one of those athletes who is internally driven,” Sime said. “She’s very coachable and pays attention to what you’re trying to do.

“She’s a good student, and I can only see success for her in the future.”

It was this dynamism that attracted Dordt head coach Jon Crane to Eidsness.

As a high school multi-sport athlete, Jillian brings a great level of competitiveness coupled with coaching ability,” he said in a press release. “We are excited to see how she develops and contributes to our team.”

Eidsness quickly fell in love with Dordt and the program.

“I went to visit the campus and the program was outstanding,” she said. “It’s a great Christian atmosphere and a great learning program.”

Having a Gazelle pursuing her golfing career adds to the program, noted Sime.

“It’s good for the younger guys to see that we have girls who can play at the top level,” he said. “They can see that not only could they have this opportunity, but they could also get a little help paying for their education.”

The Gazelles open the 2022 season April 14 at the Harrisburg Invitational, playing for the Class AA state championships June 6-7 at Brookings.

Eidsness, the daughter of Will and Hilary Eidsness of Yankton, is undecided about her field of study.

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