Student-athlete profile: Gillian Dudeck '13
On May 9, 2012, women's golf became the 29th varsity sport at Hamilton College, and Gillian Dudeck '13 is recognized as one of the individuals who helped make that happen. Gillian helped lead the team through its first four tournaments last fall, and recorded the second-best stroke average on the squad. She made the 2012 NESCAC fall all-academic team after the season. This spring, Gillian and the rest of the women's golfers play in tournaments hosted by Le Moyne College, Amherst College and Ithaca College. The schedule kicks off with a match against St. Olaf College in West Palm Beach, Fla., on March 27.
Q: Tell us a little bit about where you grew up.
A: I grew up in Haddam, Connecticut, and moved to Deep River, Conn., during my freshman year of high school. Both are small towns with beautiful views of the Connecticut River.
Q: How did you get interested in golf?
A: When I was younger, I spent a lot of time participating in sports, and was always interested in trying new activities. I started to play golf during the summer on Cape Cod and participated in the Cape Cod Junior Golf League. As I got more serious, I played in Junior Titleist Tour events in the area, and thought about competing in golf in college.
Q: Did you compete in any other sports before you came to Hamilton?
A: I played sports year-round growing up. I was a goalkeeper on my club and middle school soccer teams and continued playing in high school at Miss Porter’s School. I also played travel and AAU basketball, as well as for my middle and high school teams.
Q: What attracted you to Hamilton College?
A: I looked at many small liberal arts schools in the Northeast. Nearly all the schools that I was considering had golf teams on which I could compete. When I visited Hamilton, I knew that this was where I wanted to go to college. I could feel a great sense of community and friendliness on campus, and that had a great impact on me. Though Hamilton didn’t have a women’s golf team, I applied early decision with the intention of trying to get one started while I was here.
Q: This is the first year that women’s golf has been a varsity sport at Hamilton. I am told you were a driving force behind women’s golf becoming a varsity sport. What made you so passionate about this?
A: There were three driving factors for me trying to get women’s golf to a varsity level. I love playing golf and entered college wanting to play at the intercollegiate level. Second, I knew there were other students on campus and prospective students who also wanted to play at Hamilton. As the president of the club team, I received letters from female high school students expressing interest in playing golf at Hamilton. Lastly, with more and more young women playing golf, I saw this as a great opportunity for Hamilton College to offer more options to its students.
Q: What steps did you take to make women’s golf a varsity sport? Please tell us about the process.
A: When I arrived at Hamilton, the women’s golf club program had gone dormant. I basically had to start from scratch by creating a constitution, developing a budget and recruiting members for the club team. Once the club was approved, we could go to tournaments. I drove to the tournament Friday night, played Saturday and Sunday, and drove home Sunday evening. Some tournaments we had three people competing and other times only I competed. While I was competing in intercollegiate tournaments, I was also speaking with Mr. Hind, the Athletic Director, about the possibility of elevating women’s golf to varsity status.
Q: This spring, the team plays down in Florida during spring break, in tournaments at Le Moyne and Amherst and the ECAC Division II/III championships down in Ithaca. How do you feel individually and as a team going into the spring?
A: I’m ready for the spring season to begin. I am always so eager to get out on the course after not playing for a long time. As always, I’m looking to improve as a golfer. As a team, we’re excited about the spring. Though we’ve lost one junior who is abroad, we have three new women joining the team! We’ll be more comfortable competing in tournaments this spring, now that we have the fall season under our belts.
Q: What has been your favorite class and/or professor so far at Hamilton?
A: My favorite class has been Coastal Geology and Environmental Oceanography with Professor Cindy Domack. I love the ocean and coast, having spent my summers on Cape Cod and studying abroad in the Turks and Caicos. This class and Professor Domack have only helped strengthen that passion.
Q: What will Gillian Dudeck be doing five years from now?
A: Occupationally, I honestly have no idea where I’ll be five years from now. I do have a few things that I would like to have accomplished by then. I would like to enjoy going to work in an interesting career and continue my passion for golf.