Hugh­esville’s Clark is star both on and off the court

Maryland Independent - - Sports B - By ME­GAN SA­FINA Spe­cial to the In­de­pen­dent

Not many col­lege stu­dents can say they’ve had their sto­ries pub­lished or had sto­ries pub­lished about them.

But Hugh­esville, Md., na­tive Sierra Clark has ac­com­plished both. The for­mer Arch­bishop Spald­ing High School basketball player is a star on and off the court at Adel­phi Uni­ver­sity in Long Is­land, N.Y., where she’s a ju­nior.

By day, Clark stud­ies jour­nal­ism and last se­mes­ter pub­lished sto­ries in the Worces­ter Tele­gram-Gazette, a 71,000-cir­cu­la­tion daily news­pa­per near Boston, and the Web­ster Times, a small weekly news­pa­per in Mas­sachusetts. Adel­phi’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions depart­ment hon­ored the as­pir­ing sports jour­nal­ist in March as its stu­dent of the month.

At night, the 5-foot-11 forward led the Di­vi­sion II women’s basketball pro­gram to an 18-12 record and paced the squad in scor­ing, with 13.5 points per game, and re­bound­ing, with 6.3 re­bounds per game. She was named to the North­east-10 All-Con­fer­ence team and was a sec­ond-team All-Met Di­vi­sion II se­lec­tion.

Basketball and aca­demics aren’t her only tal­ents. As a child, she learned how to play four in­stru­ments — alto sax­o­phone, bari­tone sax­o­phone, bas­soon and flute — the lat­ter of which she taught her­self.

In her ju­nior year of high school, her par­ents told her she had to make a choice be­tween mu­sic and basketball, as she was equally dedicated to both. Her basketball team at Arch­bishop Spald­ing had made it into a post­sea­son tour­na­ment and it ended up con­flict­ing with one of her band’s big con­certs. She knew it was time to fully com­mit to one or the other and that’s when she de­cided on basketball.

“I think I made the right choice for me,” she said, adding that she still oc­ca­sion­ally plays her in­stru­ments.

Adel­phi’s women’s basketball coach Heather Ja­cobs is cer­tainly happy with her choice.

“Sierra is a spe­cial player,” Ja­cobs said. “When she is in her zone she can be un­stop­pable. She has the abil­ity to el­e­vate over her de­fender and score at will.”

Her pro­fes­sors think she’s spe­cial, too.

“I al­ways en­joy hav­ing Sierra in class be­cause I know I can count on her to set a good ex­am­ple for other stu­dents,” said Mark Grabowski, a com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­fes­sor. “Some­times I for­get she’s also a re­ally good basketball player be­cause I think of her as a scholar first. I think she’ll have good op­tions when she grad­u­ates — whether it’s play­ing pro basketball in Europe or pur­su­ing a ca­reer in the me­dia.”

Al­though Clark has al­ready made her mark at Adel­phi, she still has plenty of time left to do more. Be­cause she trans­ferred to Adel­phi, af­ter suf­fer­ing an injury her fresh­man year that kept her off the court at Di­vi­sion I Saint Fran­cis Uni­ver­sity (Pa.), she still has two years of ath­letic el­i­gi­bil­ity left.

“So even though I am a ju­nior aca­dem­i­cally, I am a sopho­more on the court,” she said. “And I plan to look into pos­si­bly play­ing over­seas be­cause I don’t think I’ll be ready for my basketball ca­reer to be done. When I even­tu­ally hang up my sneak­ers I will still be able to be close to the game. I hope to even­tu­ally get into color com­men­tat­ing.”

Sa­fina is a col­lege jour­nal­ism stu­dent at Adel­phi Uni­ver­sity (N.Y.).

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Hugh­esville na­tive Sierra Clark is a star on and off the court at Adel­phi Uni­ver­sity in Long Is­land, N.Y., where she’s a ju­nior.

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