Sarah Clark will be entering Beaver Dam High School as a freshman this year.
And she plans to join the prep girls track and field team as a thrower and a runner.
Because she’s had success throwing the discus during the last two summers with her AAU Athletics North Field and Track Club, and this past spring she ran the 100 meter dash and threw the discus for her Beaver Dam Middle School track team.
“She went undefeated in the discus the entire year,” her dad and AAU coach Lloyd Clark said about her success as a discus thrower in middle school. “She never lost a meet. She was first place in every single middle school meet. She also ran the 100 meter dash and did the 4x100 meter relay, which I think helped her discus and javelin, especially.”
No kidding. As a member of her Athletics North team, she qualified for the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Houston next week. While events start on the Monday, Sarah won’t throw the discus until noon on Wednesday and on Thursday she will throw the javelin at noon.
“Last year was my first year and I didn’t really know what I was doing,” Sarah said about how she was able to advance to nationals for the second summer in a row. “But this year we’ve really been working on technique on how to get it farther. I feel like I’ve improved with technique and power.
“Then it really pays off with how far it goes.”
As a thrower, it wasn’t just the added running events that helped her improve from last year to now. She’s also a member of the SwanSyncSation Synchronized Skating team for the Beaver Dam Swan City Ice Skaters, and the twirling she has to do on the ice has helped her with the rotations in discus.
“When you spin, it’s kind of like the same thing as spinning on ice,” Sarah said. “I kind of link it together. I like how when you throw it, you see how far it flies.
“That’s the most exciting part about it.”
Her dad said her competition takes notice of it too because as a smaller girl, she doesn’t fit the typical mold of a thrower.
“She surprises a lot of the kids because most of the girls are more weight lifter type,” Lloyd said. “Sarah still skates, but she doesn’t look like a discus thrower when she walks up there.
“Then she throws farther than they do and it messes with them.”
Sarah threw in the 70s, but this year her PR is a 94.8 feet.
“Just having more time to learn how to execute these things really helps because thinking about what you’re doing, you have to visualize it,” she said about what she does in order to throw farther each time she’s at a track and field meet. “You have to visualize what you’re doing because if you don’t then you’re just stuck. If you don’t think you can do it, you’re probably not going to be able to do it.
“I visualize a lot when I throw. I visualize I can throw 90 and it gets further out.”
Next week will be a tough test when it comes to Wednesday and Thursday, but her dad feels ready and has high expectations.
“My realistic goal for her next week is if she goes down there and hits a PR then we’ve had a successful year,” he said. “If she goes down there and gets close to her PR then that’s fine too.”
And she will have her team for the support she’s had all season. In fact, the Athletics North track club has added five more athletes from last year’s team that included only Clark and Allison Moore of Waupun. Kenneth Moore, Liz Grenon, Ike Yaroch and Derek Reeves all joined the team this year.
It was something Lloyd was very pleased about.
“We don’t want to get the team too big,” he said. “I would like to get it so that some of the younger kids are coming up to get them involved. Right now, the big thing about this team is it’s like family. It really is. Ike amd Derek were like Sarah’s big brother this year. They were constantly going back and forth with insults and everything else. But it was fun.
“It was a great time and I don’t want to lose that.”
Neither does Sarah because the family atmosphere was her favorite thing about the summer competition.
“It’s like having a bigger family,” she said. “It’s just the best part because I’m an only child. So, it’s like having siblings.”
email@example.com or on Twitter @ mmcmull2.