MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Cumberland Valley women’s basketball player Jillian Jekot recently announced that she will forgo her senior season to enroll early at Penn State this spring after committing to the Nittany Lions in June.
“Every time I’ve been [to Penn State] it’s been a really fun experience and that definitely contributed to me choosing to go there,” said Jekot. “I always knew I wanted to play at a Power 5 conference and Penn State was the closest to home.”
Jekot is from Enola, Pennsylvania and was surrounded by Penn State fans and alumni. All of her three older sisters went on to play collegiately in Pennsylvania and she wanted to take the same path. On her campus visits, Jekot was very happy with the environment Head Coach Carolyn Kieger and the staff have created.
Jekot grew up visiting Penn State frequently because her sister played one year for the Lady Lions. Her sister brought Jekot on her official visit to Penn State when Jekot was about eight years old where she got to go on the field during the White Out game.
Fast forward a couple of years and Jekot was back on the field during the White Out game for her own official visit.
“For my first visit and my last visit I was able to go to the White Out Penn State game, which is just amazing,” Jekot said. “The girls there on the team actually made it so much fun. We were all hanging out together. We got to go down on the field.”
In May, Jekot realized she had enough credits to graduate high school early by taking one credit over the summer. She wasn’t sure of her collegiate plans at that point, but she wanted to have options.
The opportunity came up that Jekot could join the Lady Lions this upcoming spring and redshirt, meaning she could jumpstart her academic career, become acclimated to college life and gain experience without losing any eligibility.
“The Big Ten conference is a huge jump from high school and so this extra semester will help me learn Penn State’s system, their plays, I’ll be able to travel with the team, I’ll be able to train and practice with the team and learn from the experienced players,” Jekot said.
Jekot is also excited about starting early in the classroom. She will be majoring in business and is planning on getting her MBA. This way, she can potentially graduate in 4.5 years with her masters.
Although Jekot is thrilled to be heading to Happy Valley she is sad she will miss out on her senior season at Cumberland Valley.
“I basically grew up in the Cumberland Valley girls’ basketball program, whether it was me playing or watching my sisters,” Jekot said. “So, it’s bittersweet.”
Jekot’s Cumberland Valley coaches were the first people she informed once she made her decision. Jekot said they were surprised but incredibly supportive.
“I’m extremely thankful for CV,” Jekot said. “I give a lot of credit to them and my AAU program the Comets in Philadelphia. They prepared me a lot to get ready for this next level and I’m just super grateful for them.”
Jekot said she has probably spent about 10 years of her life around the Cumberland Valley girls’ basketball program between her sisters playing and her own high school career. Jekot said her fond memories from CV will remain with her as she moves on to her next chapter.
“I’m excited to go to college, but I’ll always remember where I grew up,” Jekot said. “I love CV. I’m very fortunate to have been part of that program.”