The Golden Eagles have signed Alina Avalos, Gabriella Blomdahl, Taylor Brunn, Ella Eibensteiner, Alyssa Stillman and Dana Zarn.
The University of Minnesota Crookston softball program announced the addition of six student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. The Golden Eagles have signed Alina Avalos (RHP/1B, Riverside, Calif./Martin Luther King, Jr. H.S.), Gabriella Blomdahl (OF, Duluth, Minn./Hermantown H.S.), Taylor Brunn (2B/OF, Little Canada, Minn./Concordia Academy), Ella Eibensteiner (SS/2B, North Oaks, Minn./Totino-Grace H.S.), Alyssa Stillman (2B/SS, Hortonville, Wis./Hortonville H.S.), and Dana Zarn (3B, Winnipeg, Manitoba/J.H. Bruns Collegiate).
The 2019-20 class is the first signing class for first-year Head Coach Travis Owen, who came to Minnesota Crookston from the University of Northern Colorado, where he was an assistant coach for the NCAA Division I program.
Alina Avalos (RHP/1B, 5-9, Riverside, Calif./Martin Luther King, Jr. H.S.)
Avalos competed at pitcher and first base for Martin Luther King, Jr. High School. She earned the California State Tournament Champion Outstanding Pitcher Award. In addition, Avalos was named King High School Outstanding Defensive Player. She earned the Housley Tournament Champion Winning Pitcher, and was the USSA Best of the West Tournament Champion Winning Pitcher. Avalos competes on the club level for So Cal Athletics.
She is the daughter of Juan and Mary Avalos. She was born Feb. 3, 2001. Avalos plans to major in business administration and marketing at Minnesota Crookston.
“Alina is a dual-threat pitcher and power hitter,” Owen said. “In the circle, she is able to keep hitters off balance with her movement pitches and nasty change-up. And in the batter’s box she has the ability to hit the ball hard for extra bases, which will be a valuable addition to our team’s slugging. Alina has the drive to make a difference and her attitude and outlook are strengths that will contribute right away to our team’s confidence in being able to beat any team in our conference.”
Gabriella Blomdahl (OF, 5-5, Duluth, Minn./Hermantown H.S.)
Blomdahl was a Second Team All-Lake Superior Conference selection for softball. She also earned all-conference accolades for soccer, where she served as team captain.
She is the daughter of Toni and Jared Blomdahl. Blomdahl was born Oct. 26, 2001. She plans to major in elementary education at Minnesota Crookston.
“Gabby was one of the first recruits I had watched and right away I liked her scrappiness and focus in the box,” Owen said. “She has both speed and short game, but also has been adding some pop which will keep defenses guessing. Her athleticism allows her to get to lots of balls in the outfield, or play second base, if needed. She is passionate and driven and will fit in well within our program as a leader.”
Taylor Brunn (2B/OF, 5-8, Little Canada, Minn./Concordia Academy)
Brunn was a four-time all-conference selection for softball at Concordia Academy. She was also a four-time all-section pick. Brunn earned All-State honors last season at Concordia Academy. She also played volleyball in high school. Brunn was named all-conference honorable mention. In addition, she was All-State Honorable Mention for Concordia Academy. Brunn was named to the Wells Fargo All-Tournament Team.
She is the daughter of Aimee and Andy Brunn. Brunn is undecided on her major. She was born Jan. 18, 2001. Brunn’s uncle Marcus Boog played baseball at University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
“Taylor is a competitor in the box who has speed and is overall just a tough out,” Owen said. “Defensively she covers ground extremely well in the outfield and has the versatility to play middle infield if needed. "She has great enthusiasm and positivity and will be an immediate benefit to our program's culture- on and off the field."
Ella Eibensteiner (SS/2B, 5-8, North Oaks, Minn./Totino-Grace H.S.)
Eibensteiner was named All-Northwest Suburban Conference in softball and hockey. Eibensteiner played club softball for the Minnesota Force.
She is the daughter of Jen and Keith Eibensteiner. Eibensteiner plans to major in exercise science and wellness at Minnesota Crookston. She was born Jan. 5, 2001.
“Ella is someone who can play anywhere in the infield and has top notch athleticism and a rocket arm,” Owen said. “In the batter's box she is a slugger which is rare among SS/2B. Ella’s focus is second to none and her work ethic will immediately help push our team to get better.”
Alyssa Stillman (2B/SS, 5-7, Hortonville, Wis./Hortonville H.S.)
Stillman hit .386 with four doubles, two triples, four home runs and 16 RBIs for Hortonville High School as a junior. In club softball, she hit .403 with seven doubles, three triples, three home runs and 23 RBIs in 2018 for the Midwest Glory. In the fall of 2017, Stillman hit .518 with four doubles, two triples, two home runs and 10 RBIs for the Midwest Glory. As a sophomore at Hortonville, Stillman posted a .428 batting average with five home runs and 27 RBIs. In 2017 for the Wisconsin Bandits, she hit .421.
She is the daughter of Jeff and Lisa Stillman. Stillman plans to major in health sciences. She was born May 26, 2001.
“Alyssa is a straight-up athlete who is coachable and has a high ceiling,” Owen said. “She is a line drive hitter with speed, a good arm, and her range at middle infield can also be utilized in the outfield. She is a positive hard worker, who will fit in right away to the team atmosphere we are looking to continue building.”
Dana Zarn (3B, 5-7, Winnipeg, Manitoba/J.H. Bruns Collegiate)
Zarn has received one goal and three silver medals at the provincial level in the past four years playing with the Manitoba Thunder. Last season, she hit .389 for the Manitoba Thunder. Zarn had 61 hits and 45 runs scored with a .548 slugging percentage.
She is the daughter of Jeff and Alison Zarn. Zarn plans to major in exercise science at Minnesota Crookston. She was born Nov. 20, 2001. Zarn has been on the honor roll since her freshman year of high school.
“Dana is a strong, corner infielder who has a great glove and hands defensively,” Owen said. “At the plate, she has gap-to-gap power and the ability to hit the ball hard. I believe her ceiling is also very high in that she has excellent focus on constant improvement and high coachability. She will be an immediate great addition to our team’s culture.”