YORK -- Jessi Gillenwater, a fleet-footed outfielder and solid hitter for York Comprehensive High School, is ready to take her game to the next level.
The senior standout signed on the dotted line last week to play softball for Southern Wesleyan.
"I was impressed the first time I visited the school,'' Gillenwater said of the Central campus, located a short distance from Clemson. "It's not too small or too big. It has a good atmosphere.''
Gillenwater said Southern Wesleyan is in a rebuilding mode, which means positions are open to newcomers. She believes that could equate into playing time next season.
Blessed with natural speed, Gillenwater chases down fly balls with incredible ease and runs the bases with abandon.
"I've been told that speed can't be taught,'' she said. "You have to be smart running the bases. It's a mental thing."
Asked if she had a favorite hobby, Gillenwater shifted the conversation back to softball. She plays softball year-round.
Gillenwater continues to provide words of encouragement to many new faces on this year's roster.
"We're going through an adjustment with young, talented players lacking varsity experience,'' said Gillenwater, the daughter of Lorri and John Dod.
York coach Nikkie Templeton speaks in glowing terms of the dedicated senior.
"Jessi is a fantastic kid, an all-round athlete,'' Templeton said. "Her success in the classroom and on the field is an example for others to follow.
"She is an impact player.''