Brayden Conover Named Third Annual Ron Balicki Scholarship Winner
NORMAN, Okla –Brayden Conover was selected as third annual Ron Balicki Scholarship Award winner. The scholarship is awarded to an applicant who shows great journalism skills, a passion for golf and also displays the values that Balicki practiced daily. Conover, a journalism and communications major at the University of Oklahoma was awarded the scholarship on November 22nd.
“It means the world to me to be a recipient and be linked to Mr. Balicki,” said Conover. “His legacy not only as a golf journalist but as a person are extraordinary. I am beyond humbled and blessed to now be mentioned in the same breath as him.”
Conover first picked up the game of golf in middle school but did not play competitively until high school where he made varsity his Sophomore through Senior years at Midwest City High School (Midwest City, Oklahoma). Although he picked up golf later in his schooling years, journalism was always a passion of his. Since Conover was a young boy, he was fascinated in local journalists and weathermen as they were on TV what seemed like 24/7 during tornado season.
After graduating high school in 2016, Conover went to Rose State College to pursue an associate’s degree in communications and was the school's sports editor during his time there. Being able to combine his two passions of sports and journalism was a dream come true for Conover.
While maintaining school, Conover has pursued his future career in sports at a full sprint. Conover has balanced school as well as multiple jobs in sports including being a John Reis Intern for the Golf Coaches Association of America and a front office partnership services coordinator for the Oklahoma City Dodgers (LA Dodgers AAA affiliate) for the past three seasons. Currently, Conover is a beat writer for USA Today as part of the College Wire (Sooners Wire) service and covers Oklahoma football, men's basketball, golf, baseball and softball as well as producing for a local sports talk radio station (107.7 The Franchise) and is a play by play and color analyst (football, basketball, baseball and softball) for high schools across the Oklahoma City metro area.
“Looking at the past winners, Luke Hendry and Tracy Peyton, I can't help but think I can join them in their successes upon graduating from OU,” added Conover. “Through this award I hope to meet some amazing people who are willing to help me open doors I never knew were available to me.”
“What’s amazing about being a journalist is that it can take you all over the world. Wherever I end up, whether it be a small market tv or radio station or a large market newspaper, I can't wait to get out there and become a better journalist each day.”
Balicki’s style of writing truly resonated with Conover. “I find that I love the way Mr. Balicki painted the picture. When you read his work you can smell the pine trees, you can feel the intensity, you can visualize the putt that the subject of the piece is standing over and you can feel exactly what they're feeling in that moment. Mr. Balicki's imagery puts the reader in the place of the subject.”
The legacy left by Ron Balicki is a beautiful one. Balicki is not remembered just by the stories he wrote, but the lives he touched. Although Balicki is gone, his memory and legacy will continue on.