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