Early Lessons Leading To Senior Success For Lancers’ Clark | Sports

It was, as she describes it now, her ‘welcome to college track’ moment.

During a 60-meter dash race four years ago as a freshman member of the Mount Marty women’s track team, Lanny Clark finished 31st out of 36 runners at an indoor meet in Crete, Nebraska.

“I had probably the worst start you could ever see,” she joked.

For someone who saw plenty of success during her cross country and track careers while at nearby Gayville-Volin High School, those early college meets were a definite eye-opener, according to Clark, now a senior at Mount Marty.

The lessons she learned early on in her Lancer career are even ones she shares with the current freshmen, she said this week.

“You come in and expect to do really well right away, but sometimes that doesn’t happen, so you can’t beat yourself up,” Clark said.

A realization needed to set in early that those frustrating finishes were the beginning of what would be a long journey, she added.

“You can always learn and grow,” she said. “That definitely humbled me as a freshman.”

With those early lessons always in mind, Clark has, four years later, become a record-breaking sprinter for the Lancers.

At a meet last weekend in Seward, Nebraska, she had a hand in three school records: She won the 100-meter dash (12.18) and the 200-meter dash (25.17), and anchored the second-place 400-meter relay ( 49.41).

Clark’s times in the 100 and 200 now lead the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC), and she was earlier this week named the GPAC Athlete of the Week.

As to why she’s experienced such a dramatic rise as a senior (she finished seventh in both of those races at the GPAC indoor meet earlier this year), Clark is quick to credit Mount Marty associate head coach Jonathon Becker and his work with her technique and form.

“This year, it feels like everything has come together,” Clark said. “I wasn’t expecting anything like this.

“I didn’t think I would get where I am, and I’m very blessed and humbled by this journey.”

Part of that journey has included learning how to, as Clark refers to it as, ‘execute’ her race. What does that entail?

“Early on, I would just try to get my legs moving as fast as I could, but now, coach Becker tells us to ‘float and fly,'” she said.

Asked what ‘float and fly’ means, Clark explained it that she tries to drive into the ground and use a good push to keep her going — “my strides are a little longer than before, and I try to stay smooth and not tighten up she added.

All of those improvements were on full display last weekend in Seward, Nebraska.

“I’ve been on cloud nine since then,” Clark said.

Originally, the Lancers had been scheduled to compete at the Sioux City Relays, but decided late to attend the meet at Seward — Clark joked that the weather would be better there for the sprinters.

Whatever it was, there was “something in the air down there,” she said. Clark remembered looking up at the video board following her 100-meter dash preliminary race and thinking, ‘No way, that’s a PR (personal record).’

“I think the other teams were a little blown away,” she added.

Set to graduate next month, Clark has been applying for a position as a Registered Nurse. She said she is also considering pursuing a Masters degree from MMU in Leadership & Coaching, and to use her fifth year of eligibility for one more track season.

As far as the remainder of her 2022 track season goes, Clark said she is aiming for a successful GPAC outdoor next month and is hoping to qualify for the NAIA national meet in both the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash.

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