Carly Clark earns honor in New England
By Kyle LoJacono
Most central Pasco County soccer players spend four years on the pitch at Sunlake, Land O’ Lakes or Wiregrass Ranch high schools, but one has been showcasing her talents 1,500 miles north.
Carly Clark, 18, is a senior at Miss Hall’s School in Pittsfield, Mass., but lives in Land O’ Lakes when the all girls college preparatory academy is not in session.
“A couple of my cousins went to private schools too in the area,” Clark said. “I wanted to go to a boarding school because it helps you get ready for college. It’s really good academically, but it also makes you ready for everything else. I’ve been living by myself for four years, so I can do my laundry and everything else that most kids have done for them at home.”
Clark has a 3.4 unweighted grade point average, and has also been a star for the Hurricanes in two sports. She has been a defender on the varsity soccer team since her freshman year and is the catcher on the softball squad for the fourth straight year.
“My whole family is really athletic,” Clark said. “We do a lot of things outside all the time. My brother (Zachary) played hockey and my mom (Kris) is a body builder. I also used to ride horses and played hockey too.”
Clark was a co-captain for Miss Hall’s soccer team, which completed its season with an 8-6 record in November. Soccer is a fall sport in the north to avoid playing in cold weather. The Hurricanes came in fourth out of 30 teams in the New England Prep School Soccer Association (NEPSSA) Western Division regular season, missing the playoffs by two spots.
Clark’s efforts on the Hurricanes backline earned her a spot on the NEPSSA Western All-Star team despite missing the first half of the season with a twisted knee.
Christie Higuera, Clark’s soccer coach, said opposing coaches vote on who they think was the best player on the other team after each contest. The players with the most votes make the all-star game, which was played Nov. 14.
“I loved that she made the team, especially because of her injury,” Higuera said, who is also Miss Hall’s assistant dean of students. “It was the first time she made the team and it’s well deserved for the work she’s done.”
Clark said of being an all star, “There were a lot of good players. It was really exciting to play against the best players, and my team won 4-0.
Higuera said the all-star appearance is a fitting end for Clark’s time with the team.
“I remember seeing her at the first tryouts her freshman year,” Higuera continued. “You could tell she was an athlete. She was fit and strong as a freshman and could do everything demanded of her. She was also a voice of reason. She would listen to what’s going on and say something that always made sense. She was a calming voice.”
Clark scored two goals and recorded five assists while leading the Miss Hall’s defense during her four years, starting 49 of 62 games during that time. Now her attention shifts to softball in the spring, which she believes is her best sport.
Clark said she wants to play softball in college. She would prefer to attend a university in the south and added a few schools in Texas and Tennessee have asked for video of her playing. As for academics, Clark plans to major in psychology, but she is an athlete at heart.
“I’ve loved playing both sports here,” Clark said. “I was really surprised to make the teams as a freshman and it’s been great.”