Sterling, VA (August 5, 2016) – Potomac Falls’ rising senior Tori Birks has commit to play women’s lacrosse for Gardner-Webb University beginning the 2017/2018 academic school year.
“After making my decision and committing to Gardner-Webb, I was so relieved because the recruiting process had been long and stressful, shared Birks. But now that it’s done, I don’t have to worry about applying to colleges or question where I will be. It’s super exciting to have this part of my future figured out.”
Gardner–Webb is a private, four-year university located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, 50 miles west of Charlotte. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 2,688, its setting is rural, and the campus size is 240 acres. Gardner-Webb’s ranking in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 edition of Best Colleges Regional Universities South is #4.
Gardner-Webb, which has consistently been rated as a “character-building college,” focuses on personal attention between students and faculty (low student-to-faculty ratio), a safe environment in small-town atmosphere, a strong commitment to its Christian heritage, and a mission to develop the whole student-academically, spiritually, socially, and physically. Although it is a relatively small institution, Gardner-Webb offers many of the amenities of a larger college, including modern computer and student housing facilities, as well as NCAA Division I athletics.
“Gardner-Webb has a great nursing program which was really important to me, and the campus is beautiful, said Birks. I also love the size of the school and am really excited to be a part of the lacrosse program. Since a lot of colleges would not allow me to both play lacrosse and pursue my intended major of nursing, my recruiting experience was not as great as I expected, but GWU and its amazing faculty and coaches work really hard to allow you to do both.”
Birks’ head lacrosse coach will be Jillian Krick. Jillian Krick was named head coach at Gardner-Webb in June 2015, continuing the process of building a new program after serving as an assistant coach during the program’s 2015 inaugural season. Krick joined the Gardner-Webb coaching staff after her playing career at Liberty University. She played in 57 games for the Flames and made 47 starts.
“Jillian was impressive during the interview process,” said Vice President for Athletics Chuck Burch. Her familiarity with the program, our university and its commitment to a Christian higher education will be advantageous as she continues to build a lacrosse tradition here. I am confident what she lacks in experience will be compensated for by her enthusiasm, willingness to learn and high level of energy.”
“My first year, I expect to work really hard on the field to earn my spot and the respect of my teammates, said Birks. Off the field I expect to work really hard to keep up with my schoolwork while playing lacrosse.”
Birks, a 2016 VHSL 5A All-State first team selection and member of the 5A girls lacrosse state championship team, has played lacrosse since the 2nd grade and became serious about the sport in the fourth. When asked about one of her fondest memories playing lacrosse over that time, Birks shared, “Winning the state championship was definitely a great memory because it showed how far my team and I had come from all our hard work. Since my dad is the high school girls lacrosse head coach, it has been an awesome bonding experience with him as well.”
Birks’ Potomac Falls girls lacrosse team closed out the 2016 regular season with a 13-1 record, marched though the playoffs, and avenged their only loss on the year when they defeated the George Marshall Statesmen en route to winning the 5A Girls Lacrosse State Championship by the score 19-6. Her Panthers finished the year with a 19-1 final record.
“I am thankful of my parents because they have put so much time and effort in helping me find schools that offered nursing and lacrosse, and driving me to my club practices and tournaments. I’m especially thankful to my dad for coaching me since I was a kid. I would also like to thank my teammates from high school and club for supporting and believing in me, and being there to remind me that hard work will get me where I want to be.”
Asked what advice she’d give other pursuing their dream, Tori shared, “I would tell them to stay hopeful. By the end of last summer, I had started to give up on my dream of playing both lacrosse and pursuing a nursing degree because it didn’t seem possible to do both at the same time. Despite the concern, I continued to work hard and contact college coaches, and ended up achieving my goal. You just have to stay positive and work hard, and things will work themselves out.”
Please join us in wishing Tori Birks the very best in her success on the lacrosse field, and in the classroom as she pursues a career in nursing at Gardner-Webb University.