Clark Reflects on Cross Country Career

Unlikely Success Propels Senior Runner

From being slowest on her cross country team in 8th grade to coming in first at her recent junior varsity race at UW-Parkside, Emma Clark has a lot to say about her team and her responsibilities as the junior varsity captain.

As an incoming freshman to NDA, Clark knew she wanted to play soccer for the spring season so she figured she could do cross country to stay in shape for soccer. Clark thought for sure that she would not be good.

“I ran over the summer in preparation for the season and I shaved so much time off of my 8th grade times. My sophomore year I had the opportunity to run on the state team for Notre Dame. It was so much fun,” Clark said.

Outrunning her doubts and negative thoughts of the past, Clark proved to be a hardworking runner.

“I think it’s great to tell other people my story to hopefully inspire other people to train harder so they can understand their full potential,” Clark said.

In a team over 130 kids, being a captain of any sort can be overwhelming. Having meets and practices with everyone at once is certainly a handful when you have so many runners to keep track of.

“It is a big challenge to get everyone to a certain place at a certain time. I do have an 8th hour class so I don’t have the opportunity to help out during that hour. Every day for practice I take attendance and help relay messages from the coaches to the team,” Clark said.

Helping alongside Clark are captains Eliza Campbell, Maggie Evans and Hope Sievert. Even with the extra help, Clark says the hard part about being captain is “the fact that you can’t always come across as being everybody’s friend. If people aren’t listening to what we are saying, we have to sometimes use our not-so-nice voices.”

Either way, Clark said she loves being a captain. “It gives me a better chance to meet and get to know more people. We have a lot of freshman runners so I had to learn a lot of new names!”

With plenty of races still left in the season, there is a lot to look forward to for the whole team. Clark said she can’t wait to see how well the teams will perform.

“So many people came to running club this summer to train for this season. I hope people can see that it really does pay off! I’m excited for the bigger meets like Griak, City, Sectionals and State. If the boys win the city meet again this year, John Strutt will be the first guy to be on all four winning teams for the City Meet! That’s big!” she said.

“Our team will accomplish so much because we understand that it’s much more than running!” she said.

Clark said she still plans to run after high school whether it is on her own or on a team. Every year, the NDA cross country holds an alumni-run, which she plans on attending.

“I’m going to miss the camaraderie. I made so many friends on the team, it’s like a second family to me! I will definitely miss the coaches and parents because they do so much for the team, from setting up camp to making the bags of [personal record] jelly beans. The experience was much greater than I could’ve ever imagined,” Clark said.

“I love cross country and encourage everyone to do it even if they think they aren’t good at running, but to make friends and to grow in their faith,” she said.