American Gold Sports Alliance

ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT

Every month, the American Gold Sports Alliance chooses one athlete who has shown excellence in their respective sport and in the classroom. If you have a student-athlete who you would like to nominate for Athlete of the Month, email us at info@agsa.org.

MAY ATHLETE OF THE MONTH

Claire Neil

Tennis

Claire Neil is a senior tennis player at the University of Nebraska Kearney. A native of Papillion, Nebraska, Neil now majors in Communications Disorders and holds a 3.97 GPA. After she graduates, she plans on pursuing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

 Over the course of her four-year starting career, Neil has 80 career victories in singles and doubles.

Neil is not just an all-star on the court, she is also a stand-out leader and teammate. She is a two-time winner of the MIAA Sportsmanship Award (2019 & 2021), MIAA Academic Excellence Award holder, earned spots on MIAA Academic Honor Roll 3 times, and made 2021 All MIAA Tennis Team. She is also involved in undergraduate research, the mortar board senior honor society, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and Kearney Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

We are proud to have her as our May Athlete of the Month!

1. Why did you decide to major in physical therapy?

My dad is a firefighter EMT, and my mom was an EMT but is now a nurse. I knew I wanted to be in the medical profession but I’m not sure how physical therapy came to be. I just really like the idea of working with athletes

2. What is your favorite thing about playing softball?

My favorite thing is the challenge. Each game I appreciate it more and how it pushes me to be more confident. Softball helps me embrace what is difficult and overcome it to help my teammates to reach their full potential. 

3. What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced throughout your career and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge is doing school and softball and trying to succeed maximally at both. It definitely has been hard, but just trying to find a balance between the two and being present and giving my all to both academics and softball.

4. What is your pregame routine?

I like to go to church before games, eat a big breakfast because I don’t like eating between games (hotel eggs, peanut butter sandwich, and coffee) I don’t usually listen to music, I like silence. Not much of a routine, but be more content and get ready for the game.

5. What are you most looking forward to this season?

I am most looking forward to everybody realizing and showing their full potential because we know we have so much talent, especially hitting-wise, but we don’t believe it yet. We should not settle for anything less. I’m looking forward to having fun this season overall.

10 Questions With Alyssa Callans

10. What is it like coming back to play this season as a graduate student, after having your senior season taken away due to the pandemic?

I feel like everyday, I think how much easier life would be without softball right now, but then five seconds later I realize how grateful I am to have this opportunity to play another season. I feel like i wasnt done when the season was over last year. I havent given everything i had yet to softball. I wasnt ready to hang up my cleats just yet. I am just so grateful to be able to have the actual season and opportunity to hang up the cleats in a more positive way. And not only give what i have talent wise, but also knowledge wise. Especially towards the younger players and the freshman.. It has always been one of my favorite things. Wanted to give what I could knowledge wise and encourage the younger players. It has always been one of my favorite things as an upperclassman. I can’t imagine life without the sport…..

6. How would you describe your experience throwing a no-hitter and a perfect game in the same weekend?

Honestly, the night after the no-hitter I kind of got nervous thinking ahead of the next day. How would I follow that up?  I was worried about messing it up. I kept the same mindset and kept it simple. Didn’t do too much, just threw pitches where they were supposed to be thrown and focussed on doing my part. It just worked out. I kept my mindset the same. My defense was behind me, handling the pressure of the game. They had my back behind me and made the plays they needed to make for the game. 

7. What are you most proud of in your career thus far?

Probably the weekend of the no-hitter and perfect game. This season I have done better in finishing games than I have in the past. It is something I have struggled with as a pitcher, having a good game then letting it go in the last few innings, being able to finish two full games strong, and then bringing that into other games since then is something I am proud of and hope to keep doing for the team. 

8. Who do you look up to?

My dad. He has taught me how to believe in myself and to remain calm and to trust the process and always remember to give everything my all. He is a very influential guy, he’s not loud, but he has influenced me a lot in his quiet calmness and his kindness.

9. What advice do you have for young, aspiring college athletes?

Anything that’s worth doing is going to require your best and a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Once you achieve your goal, you have to keep working hard and apply yourself. Your future is worth all of your efforts. What you become is dependent on how much you invest in it. 

Do You Have A Student-Athlete You'd Like To Nominate For Athlete of the Month?

Athlete Spotlight News

MAY ATHLETE OF
THE MONTH

CLAIRE
NEIL

Tennis

Claire Neil is a senior tennis player at the University of Nebraska Kearney. A native of Papillion, Nebraska, Neil now majors in Communications Disorders and holds a 3.97 GPA. After she graduates, she plans on pursuing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

 Over the course of her four-year starting career, Neil has 80 career victories in singles and doubles.

Neil is not just an all-star on the court, she is also a stand-out leader and teammate. She is a two-time winner of the MIAA Sportsmanship Award (2019 & 2021), MIAA Academic Excellence Award holder, earned spots on MIAA Academic Honor Roll 3 times, and made 2021 All MIAA Tennis Team. She is also involved in undergraduate research, the mortarboard senior honor society, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and Kearney Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

We are proud to have her as our May Athlete of the Month!

1. Why did you decide to major in physical therapy?

My dad is a firefighter EMT, and my mom was an EMT but is now a nurse. I knew I wanted to be in the medical profession but I’m not sure how physical therapy came to be. I just really like the idea of working with athletes

2. What is your favorite thing about playing softball?

My favorite thing is the challenge. Each game I appreciate it more and how it pushes me to be more confident. Softball helps me embrace what is difficult and overcome it to help my teammates to reach their full potential. 

3. What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced throughout your career and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge is doing school and softball and trying to succeed maximally at both. It definitely has been hard, but just trying to find a balance between the two and being present and giving my all to both academics and softball.

4. What is your pregame routine?

I like to go to church before games, eat a big breakfast because I don’t like eating between games (hotel eggs, peanut butter sandwich, and coffee) I don’t usually listen to music, I like silence. Not much of a routine, but be more content and get ready for the game.

5. What are you looking forward to most this season?

I am most looking forward to everybody realizing and showing their full potential because we know we have so much talent, especially hitting-wise, but we don’t believe it yet. We should not settle for anything less. I’m looking forward to having fun this season overall.

6. How would you describe your experience throwing a no-hitter and a perfect game in the same weekend?

Honestly, the night after the no-hitter I kind of got nervous thinking ahead of the next day. How would I follow that up?  I was worried about messing it up. I kept the same mindset and kept it simple. Didn’t do too much, just threw pitches where they were supposed to be thrown and focussed on doing my part. It just worked out. I kept my mindset the same. My defense was behind me, handling the pressure of the game. They had my back behind me and made the plays they needed to make for the game. 

10 Questions With Aerin Frankel

7. What are you most proud of in your career thus far?

Probably the weekend of the no-hitter and perfect game. This season I have done better in finishing games than I have in the past. It is something I have struggled with as a pitcher, having a good game then letting it go in the last few innings, being able to finish two full games strong, and then bringing that into other games since then is something I am proud of and hope to keep doing for the team. 

8. Who do you look up to?

My dad. He has taught me how to believe in myself and to remain calm and to trust the process and always remember to give everything my all. He is a very influential guy, he’s not loud, but he has influenced me a lot in his quiet calmness and his kindness.

9. What advice do you have for young, aspiring college athletes?

Anything that’s worth doing is going to require your best and a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Once you achieve your goal, you have to keep working hard and apply yourself. Your future is worth all of your efforts. What you become is dependent on how much you invest in it. 

10. What is it like coming back to play this season as a graduate student, after having your senior season taken away due to the pandemic?

I feel like everyday, I think how much easier life would be without softball right now, but then five seconds later I realize how grateful I am to have this opportunity to play another season. I feel like I wasn’t done when the season was over last year. I havent given everything i had yet to softball. I wasnt ready to hang up my cleats just yet. I am just so grateful to be able to have the actual season and opportunity to hang up the cleats in a more positive way. And not only give what i have talent wise, but also knowledge wise. Especially towards the younger players and the freshman.. It has always been one of my favorite things. Wanted to give what I could knowledge wise and encourage the younger players. It has always been one of my favorite things as an upperclassman. I can’t imagine life without the sport…..

Do You Have A Student-Athlete You'd Like To Nominate For Athlete of the Month?

Athlete Spotlight News