Ed. Note: This week, the Tipp Gazette features senior Claire Hinkle as part of the summer feature series.
Heading into her senior season, Claire Hinkle has already established herself as one of the top goalies in the history of the Tippecanoe girls’ soccer program. The record-setting keeper has one more year to solidify her status and help lead the Red Devils deep into the post season.
Hinkle, who also plays a key part in the success of the girls’ basketball team,
“I have had some great memories with both sports I play in high school,” Hinkle said. “My freshman year, few people expected us to be very good at soccer, but we proved them wrong by making it to the Elite Eight in the tournament. My best memory comes from the regional semi-final game that year versus Monroe.”
“After Lexi Blair scored the winning goal with less than two minutes remaining and when I made the final save as time expired, everyone stormed the field congratulating us. That feeling of accomplishment and community that I got to experience with the best teammates and coaches on the planet, will never be forgotten.”
The success of the girls’ soccer team goes back a long way at Tippecanoe, and even recently, the Red Devils have challenged the best teams in the area. Last season, Tipp won the GWOC in their first year and Hinkle has been working toward making this fall as the best year yet.
“I have really been working on the communication part of the game and the leadership role that I need to take not only as a senior, but as the goalie,” she said. “I’ve also simply been working on improving on everything and anything that could possibly help my team.”
“As a team, the first goal is to go back-to-back champs in the GWOC North, and to do it undefeated. We also want to make a great tournament run and not setting our goals shorter than playing at State in November.”
“Individually, I would like to continue to keep breaking the career shutout record and move up in the all-time OHSAA career shutout record board as well as break the career record for lowest career goals against average.”
Hinkle was named to the GWOC all-conference team and second team all-Miami Valley last season, and has tied the school record for shutouts in a season twice and have broken the school records for fewest goals given up in a season, lowest goals against average in a season, and the career shutout record. As of now, Hinkle is also ranked 19th in OHSAA all-time career shutouts.
Hinkle started her athletic career at a young age, and continues her love for both sports.
“I have been playing them for as long as I can remember. From playing basketball at the Y to playing SAY soccer, I haven’t stopped playing either since,” Hinkle said. “My dad influenced me to play sports greatly as he played basketball, football, and baseball in college. Yet, as soon as I started playing, the love for both of the games was completely my own.”
“I actually got started playing goalie because I was the only girl on the team that would not cry if forced to play it, and obviously now I have grown to love the position greatly.”
Hinkle has seen her game progress thanks to hard work and dedication to improve her overall game.
“This spring I played club soccer with Ohio Galaxies that really bettered my game,” she said. “From really difficult practices, to games against great competition, to goalie training, all have made me so much better. The coaches there are so knowledgeable that I learned so much more than I could have even imagined, all alongside extremely talented teammates who never let me slack off and always expected my best.”
“Also, this summer I’ve also been working out with Greg Schultz four days a week working on lifting and conditioning.”
As for her future in the game, Hinkle is uncertain how far she wants to pursue the sport, but she plans to play regardless of what school she is at.
“Right now, I am still unsure if I would like to play sports in college or not. I do know, that no matter what I will continue to play soccer and basketball in college. Whether that is varsity athletics, club, or intramural, I have yet to figure that out.”
Hinkle is also involved in National Honor Society at school, and outside of school she volunteers with various organizations such as Clubhouse helping underprivileged youth in the community and Riverside for Developmental Disabilities as a soccer coach.
In college, Hinkle plans to major in Economics.