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Alyssa Gillen Makes A Case For The JUCO Route

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(Photos courtesy of Alyssa Gillen)

Alyssa Gillen started her college softball career back in 2019 at the JUCO level for Odessa College in Texas.

In her two seasons at Odessa, through 58 games and 157 at-bats, Gillen batted .389 with 36 RBIs and 35 runs scored. After two seasons at Odessa College, which included the shortened COVID season, Gillen transferred to Texas A&M Texarkana to play at the NAIA level. In her first season with the Eagles in 2022, Gillen appeared in 49 games and batted .333 with 18 RBIs and 31 runs scored.

Softball America caught up with Gillen, who is a two-time Academic All-American, to learn about her college softball career to date and how taking the JUCO route impacted her journey.

Softball America: Why did you choose Texas A&M Texarkana after playing at the JUCO level?

Alyssa Gillen: I chose Texas A&M Texarkana because it felt like home. It was a place where I could make a difference, get my degree and continue to get better.

SA: What was it like for you to attend a JUCO for two years?

AG: Attending Odessa College was the best decision I could have made. JUCO gave me a chance to develop as a player and person. I met some of my lifelong friends there, and I also had the chance to go to the national tournament.

SA: How did attending a JUCO help you enter a four-year institution?

AG: Odessa College prepared me for a four-year institution through the countless hours of practice we put in. I was also able to play at a high level, which prepared me to succeed on the field (at Texas A&M Texarkana).

SA: Would you recommend recruits give the JUCO route more thought when making decisions about recruiting?

AG: I would recommend that every athlete goes to a JUCO. This is because the coaches care and you get more one-on-one coaching. It also gives you the chance to be a starter your first year.

SA: How was the transferring process for you?

AG: The transferring process seems overwhelming at first, but I think the most important part is finding somewhere you want to go and somewhere that wants you too.

SA: What are some other benefits to going the JUCO route?

AG: Being at a JUCO helped me grow as a person and player. Without Odessa College, I do not think I would be as confident or as good as I am today.

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