Athletes of the Week: Claire Ring and Connor Birky

Athletes of the Week: Claire Ring and Connor Birky

Claire Ring | Tuscola girls' golf

Why she's athlete of the Week: Though the Warriors boast just three female golfers, Ring didn't let a lack of team scoring dampen her effort last Thursday. The senior carded a 43, tying with Tuscola's Matt Erickson for the best total against Meridian at Moweaqua Golf Course.

From Ring: "I practiced a lot this summer. I went out with my dad or boyfriend, and we'd hit a lot of shots and practice my chipping and putting. Really, I'm trying not to overthink it. I notice if I really focus and just play my game, that's when I do best."

I need tickets to see ... Luke Combs. I just like his music and his message.

One movie I could watch over and over again is ... "Legally Blonde." I just like that she works to overcome the odds, and I've kind of wanted to be a lawyer in the past.

If I could choose one superpower, it would be ... mind reading. Sometimes I feel like people aren't always telling you what they actually feel.

The social media platform I use most is ... Instagram. People post about their lives on there, so I like looking at what they're doing.

My biggest pet peeve is ... people chewing loudly without their mouth closed.

My best golf memory is ... just this last Saturday (at a tournament). It was me, (teammate) Lainey (Banta), my dad, my grandpa, my uncle and my boyfriend. Everyone was there, and it was fun.

My most embarrassing golf memory is ... I fell into a sand trap one time while we were practicing. I hit a shot in the sand, and I had my bag on my back walking to look at the shot, and I tripped and fell.

Before a match, I ... pray and get myself prepared. When I'm hitting on the range, I just try to zone in because golf is very much a mental game.

After a match, I ... usually go up to the clubhouse and talk to my dad about the match. Sometimes my friends and I will go to Jimmy John's.

In five years, I see myself ... in medical school or law school. It changes every time. I really want to be a dermatologist. That's the most recent trend.

Honorable mention: Hannah Austman, Prairie Central golf; Alaina Bowie, St. Thomas More golf; Lauren Ellis, Danville tennis; Sidney Hood, Fisher golf; Ashley Long, Monticello golf; Natalie Schroeder, Watseka golf; Claire Sherrick, Centennial golf; Lyndie Shoemaker, Prairie Central golf; Molly Stringer, Monticello golf; Angela Xu, Centennial tennis.


Connor Birky | Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley boys' golf

Why he's Athlete of the Week: The senior kicked off the season in style, leading the Falcons to a 5-0 record with GCMS' leading score in each of three events. His 2-under 34 last Thursday at Railside Golf Club was a career-best mark as the Falcons shot a program-best 154 in a dual match against Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin.

From Birky: "I feel like I'm just hitting all my clubs well, but especially my short game has really picked me up. I haven't been hitting every green, but I've been able to get up and down to save par."

I need tickets to see ... a Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics game. The Lakers have always been my favorite team. I'm a big Kobe fan, but now that LeBron's with the Lakers, I guess I have to like him, too.

One movie I could watch over and over again is ... "Grown Ups." Adam Sandler is hilarious, and I love all the characters.

If I could choose one superpower, it would be ... flying, for sure. You could go anywhere you want at any time, and just being super high up all the time would be cool.

The social media platform I use most is ... Snapchat. It's just easy to text people on there.

My biggest pet peeve is ... people who are really loud when they eat.

My best golf memory is ... probably when I chipped in for eagle the other day at Railside's second hole. I've chipped in from a short distance before, but this one was farther away and I really wasn't expecting to get an eagle.

My most embarrassing golf memory is ... when I hit two balls in a row right into the trees. That was at conference last year.

Before a match, I ... just listen to some laid-back music so I can keep myself calm. It's not like basketball, where I want to get super pumped up before.

After a match, I ... go eat a lot of food. We usually go out to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings.

In five years, I see myself ... probably still in school, studying to be a physical therapist at Wichita State.

Honorable mention: Lukas Ball, Watseka golf; Kevin Clapp, Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin golf; Matt Erickson, Tuscola golf; Matt Hunt, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley golf; Josh Kilcullen, Prairie Central golf; Justin McCoy, Champaign Central golf; Logan Richardson, Tri-County golf; Alex Strube, Mahomet-Seymour golf; Ryan Tilstra, Iroquois West golf; Jackson Vandeventer, Villa Grove/Heritage golf.