By Sarah Snare
LoCoSports Staff Writer
Sterling (August 9, 2016) — Potomac Falls High School senior Tori Birks has made the commitment to continue her lacrosse career at Gardner-Webb University starting in the 2017-2018 school year.
With an anticipated major in nursing, Birks is taking on a challenge. Due to the significant time commitment that each program requires, very few schools allow students to study nursing while playing Division I lacrosse, Gardner-Webb being one of them.
“I chose Gardner-Webb because they have a great nursing program,” Birks said. “I also loved the size of the school and the campus is beautiful.”
Women’s lacrosse at Gardner-Webb is a relatively new team, entering their third season this year. Head coach Jillian Krick has been with the program from the start, serving as assistant coach during the opening season. Birks – at nearly 6 feet tall – expects to be a positive addition to the Bulldogs’ team, playing both midfield and draw specialist on the college field.
“I think I will add a lot of skill on the draw because that is my passion,” Birks said. “I also think I will add a lot of energy and support for my teammates.”
Now that Birks has secured a spot for the next four years, she can focus on her senior year here at home.
“Committing to Gardner-Webb is a huge relief because I’m finally done with the recruiting process and I only have to worry about one application,” Birks said. “I think my commitment will help me this spring because it has given me a lot of confidence.”
Birks joined Panthers lacrosse in 2014 as a freshman, along with her father, Jim Birks, who was hired as head coach the same year. The team has grown immensely since then, advancing to the state championship for the first time in 2015 and then coming out with a state title the following year.
With a whole team of players as impassioned as Birks, it’s no wonder the Panthers went practically undefeated for the 2016 season, losing only a single game.
“It gives me a feeling of invisibility,” Birks said as to why she plays. “The adrenaline rush I get after I snag the ball with one hand on the draw or hit top shelf and score is unlike anything else.”
Birks doesn’t only play for the great exercise and love of the game, though. She also refers to lacrosse as “a chance to be around some of her favorite people.”
“I’ve gotten to know some girls through Potomac Falls lacrosse who are now some of my best friends,” Birks said. “I’ve also really enjoyed getting the chance to bond with my dad during practices and after games when we would sit and analyze the game together. I contributed in building a state championship team and not many people can say that.”