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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia head softball coach Eileen Schmidt has announced the signing of three future Cavaliers to National Letters of Intent.

Rachel Gillen (Wilmington, Del.), Megan Harris (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Heidi Velk (Murrieta, Calif.) will join the program in the fall of 2011.

“It’s not a huge class, but there is a bit of everything mixed in – speed, power and elite pitching,” Schmidt said. “All three signees come from very successful club programs around the country that play the toughest competition and the most difficult schedules. Their stats are that impressive already, and they still have another high school season to go. As we continue to grow at Virginia, we continue to feed great student-athletes into the mix.”

Gillen is a left-handed pitcher out of Archmere Academy in Wilmington, Del. A three-time first team all-state selection, Gillen has recorded 905 strikeouts in 392 innings over the course of her high school career. She hit .754 as a sophomore and .661 as a junior. She was named the 2009 and 2010 Gatorade State Player of the Year in addition to twice being named an Under Armour High School All-American. She also competes as a member of the Gold Coast Hurricanes club team.

“Rachel has all the tools,” Schmidt said. “I think she is most known for her work in the circle, but she swings a huge lefty bat. When she’s not pitching, we will find somewhere else for her to keep that bat in the lineup. Rachel is a great addition to our current pitching staff.”

Harris is the younger sister of Virginia first year Stephanie Harris and is a Tennessee All-State selection. The two-time All-District player out of Farragut High School in Knoxville, Tenn., hit .607 as a junior in 2010, collecting 73 RBI’s and 56 runs scored. Harris also plays for the New Jersey Intensity club team.

“Megan is strong and athletic, the ball jumps off her bat,” Schmidt said. “She loves to play the game, has a big personality and is an exciting player to watch. Her potential is through the roof. She can just as easily go yard as hit a gap and run. Megan has played everywhere and everyone and not shied away from any competition.”

Velk, out of Vista Murrieta High School in Murrieta, Calif., was a first-team All-Southwestern League selection in the CIF. She hit .417 last season with 20 stolen bases as a junior. Velk also started for the national champion 16-and-under Orange County Batbusters and currently plays for the national champion 18-and-under So Cal Athletics.

“Heidi has so much to offer, but nothing is more evident than her speed,” Schmidt said. “She has not been slapping for long and the potential for growth is there. Heidi puts so much pressure on the defense; once she is on base, she has the ability to move herself.”

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