A proven champion from Port Moody is hoping to add skill and prowess to a rebuilding program south of the border.
Multi-sport athlete Ella Nielsen has committed to pursuing a competitive tennis career and will represent Gonzaga University in NCAA Div. I — the highest level of college athletics in the United States.
The 57th ranked player by Tennis Canada said she's looking forward to joining the Bulldogs in Spokane, Wash., next fall.
"I chose Gonzaga because of the positive environment, the coaches' passion for the program and their commitment to their players," Nielsen said in a team release.
"I appreciate the family like atmosphere and love the beautiful Gonzaga campus."
Nielsen's résumé lists dozens of accolades as she competed individually and with teams at prestigious tournaments.
Most recently, the Heritage Woods Secondary student won dual-gold at the 2022 B.C. outdoor junior provincial championships in Richmond.
The 17-year-old won eight of 10 sets to claim the U18 singles title as the number-two seed, while she and teammate Naomi Schraeder went undefeated to reach the top of the podium in doubles.
Gonzaga women's tennis head coach Natalie Pluskota-Hamberg believes Nielsen's talent can bring an extra edge to a diverse roster.
"Ella will be a great fit here at GU," she said.
"As a multi-sport athlete, Ella has a leg up in terms of her athletic ability and team comradery. Her work ethic and drive both on and off the court mesh well with our already very close-knit team."
Nielsen also plays basketball and soccer, all while maintaining her spot on Heritage Woods' honour roll.
Other accomplishments have included two U18 BC Fall 4 Star singles championships, and a doubles silver and singles bronze at the 2022 B.C. indoor junior tournament.
Nielsen has also been a member of Tennis Canada's national junior program since 2014.