Meet Claire! Claire is a third-year university student but first-year Human Kinetics student and Okanagan College Coyote. Born in Nelson, BC, Claire is excited to get started in the Okanagan with the team and college. Growing up deep in the mountains, and naturally athletic, Claire took to cross country running, track and field, skating and skiing from a young age. Claire started basketball in grade 9, later than most but being the multisport athlete, picked it up quickly and started to excel. Basketball became “her sport” closer to grade 11 as her dedication and willingness to go the extra mile on the court started to raise her above the pack, especially in the Kootenay region. Living in a smaller center gave her a unique opportunity to develop her game as the boys club teams were the only option for someone of her determination level. It was actually these Kootenay connections that drew Claire to Okanagan College in the first place!
Moving from Nelson to Kelowna is no easy move, but Claire’s brother and biggest influence will always be in her corner, pushing her to her high potential. Despite being four years apart, Claire and her brother are very close after she spent a year back home rehabbing after blowing her knee out playing basketball at Camosun College in Victoria. Two knee surgeries over 8 months knocked Claire out of sports for a year which took her back home allowed her to reconnect with her friends and family. During this time she felt very lost because sport and physical activity had been a huge part of her identity and life. Her brother’s struggle helped inspire her through the difficult rehab process after multiple health care professionals told her playing again would never be an option. Having contracted and losing his leg below the knee to a flesh-eating disease, her brother hasn’t let it take his humor despite the circumstance. This resilience has stuck with Claire as she now embarks on her post-secondary career with the Coyotes. It’s no easy feat for someone coming back from multiple knee surgeries to join a highly talented program after taking a year off but with the lessons Claire has learned, don’t be surprised to see her making an impact early!
Claire’s brother’s influence doesn’t end at her mindset going into the season, it may even guide her future career. Claire hopes her Human Kinetics degree with lead to a career in Athletic Prosthetics because of her brother’s amputation. Claire hope to continue pushing her basketball and academic career forward as the semester gets started and the PacWest season gets underway! Claire and the Coyotes start the PacWest season November 2nd on the road against Camosun College!