Basketball, Gymnastics Standouts Take Home Prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor
Outside hitter Jocelynn Birks grew up with two deaf brothers
Youth and resilience categorize 2012 season
McMahon named All-Big Ten; Birks All-Freshman/Honorable Mention; Jendryk tabs Sportsmanship Award
Annie Luhrsen named Setter of the Week, Birks garners Co-Freshman of the Week honors
Photos by Craig Pessman from the Illini's 3-2 victory at Northwestern on Nov. 21, 2012.
Photos from match between Illinois and Michigan on Nov. 17.
Photos from Illinois vs. Penn State match
Photos from the Illini's 5-set match in West Lafayette, Ind.
Photos from the Illini's 5-set match with Ohio State.
2012: All-Big Ten Honorable Mention ... Big Ten All-Freshman ... Four-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week (9/17, 11/5, 11/19, 11/26) ... Big Ten Player of the Week (9/17) ... Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge All-Tournament Team ... Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational MVP... Tallied 510 kills, 1,458 attacks, 262 digs, 27 aces and 60 blocks (seven solo) on the season, ranking 10th all-time at Illinois in single-season kills and sixth in attacks ... Finished sixth in the Big Ten and 44th in the nation in kills, and seventh in the Big Ten and 52nd in the NCAA in points ... Third in the nation among freshmen in kills and fifth in points ... Led the Illini in kills and aces, was second in digs and third in solo blocks ... Had the second-most kills in an Illinois collegiate debut with 16 vs. Dayton ... Registered 25 kills against Cincinnati on Sept. 7 and was named to the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge All-Tournament team ... Named MVP of the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational after leading the tournament with 60 kills, including 20+ twice, and recording a double-double in all three matches ... Named Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Week on Sept. 17 after her performance in Texas ... Registered the 31st 20-20 in Illinois history against Penn State (20k, 23d), becoming the 17th overall and fifth first-year player to achieve the feat ... Recorded 14 kills in the third set at Michigan, the most in a single set since at least 2002 ... Tops on the team with a personal-best three aces against Northwestern, including back-to-back aces early in the crucial third set ... Served up three aces again against Purdue on Oct. 31 ... Set Big Ten personal marks with 23 kills and a .392 clip against Indiana, leading to her second Big Ten Freshman of the Week nod ... Named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for a third time after averaging 5.22 kills against MSU and Michigan, notching 22 vs. MSU and tying her then-career high with 25 kills vs. Michigan ... Garnered Big Ten Freshman of the Week once again on Nov. 26, her third honor in the month of November and fifth overall, after averaging 5.9 kills, 2.8 digs and 0.6 blocks at Northwestern and Iowa, including a career-high 28 kills against the Wildcats ... Had 11 20-kill performances (sixth-most all-time) and 13 double-doubles on the season ... Led the team in kills in 22 of the 30 matches on the season, tabbing the most attacks in every match of the year.
2011: Used the season as a redshirt year.
Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Sun-Times all-area performer in 2010 after being named the Suburban Life all-area MVP in 2009 ... Named to the ESPN All-America second team ... Named News-Gazette state Player of the Year ... Ranked 26th in prepvolleyball.com's list of Senior Aces ... Named all-West Suburban Conference Silver Division ... Helped Lyons Township to the 2010 state title and to second in the state in 2009 ... Led the Lions with 18 kills in the state championship game ... Her 467 kills rank second in Lyons Township history for a single-season ... Named Lyons Township Female Athlete of the Year ... Played for the 1st Alliance Club team that placed fifth at the USAV Nationals in the 17 silver divisioin, fifth at the JVDA National Championships and third at the AAU National Championship ... Tallied 441 kills, 47 blocks and 130 digs in 2009 and 419 kills, 38 blocks and 292 digs ... Named an AAU and Under Armour All-American ... Named the best passer at Under Armour All-Americans ... Coached by Joann Pyritz at Lyons Township and Beth Keck at 1st Alliance.
Daughter of Jeff and Jeanette Birks ... Has three brothers, Justin, Jeffrey and Jeremy ... Received the Diamond Achievement Award ... Plans to major in elementary education ... Enjoys coloring.
K: 28 at Northwestern (11/21/12)
TA: 80 at Northwestern (11/21/12)
Pct: .452 vs. Dayton (8/24/12)
A: 3 at Minnesota (10/28/12)
SA: 3, 2x, last vs. Purdue (10/31/12)
D: 23 vs. Penn State (10/6/12)
BS: 2 vs. Michigan State (11/16/12)
BA: 4, 5x, last at Northwestern (11/21/12)
T B: 5, 2x, last vs. Penn State (10/6/12)
Career Plans: Elementary Ed Teacher
Fun fact: I secretly love to dance.
Favorite Movie: Justin Bieber's Never Say Never
Three things on your "bucket list: "Swim with a killer whale, Ride an elephant,Shoot hoops with Justin Bieber.
Famous person you admire and why? Justin Bieber, he uses his popularity to help people in need, and he RULES.
If you were to win $10 million, what would you buy? Some cars, a house on the beach, and probably a tiger.
Book you've read in the past year: The Time Travelers Wife
Favorite quote: "Never let the fear of striking out; keep you from playing the game."
Your favorite sundae topping: Chocolate
Your weirdest quirk: I enjoy making really obnoxious noises.
Favorite athlete: Michael Jordan
Favorite professional sports team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite TV Show: Pretty Little Liars
Favorite Musical Group: Lady Antebellum
Lucky number: 24
Favorite subject in high school: English
Crazy thing you dream of doing someday: Having an exotic animal as a pet
Who did you idolize growing up: My mother, Jeanette.