Sha’lynn Clarke is a senior chemical and computer engineering student here at Rowan University and has been running for the women’s cross country team since freshman year. With this being her last season with the team, she is ready to finish her career and is looking back at where she started.
“I feel nostalgic,” Clarke said. “Looking back at freshman year and seeing how far I have come I am just really excited for this year. I am ready to finish my cross country career strong.”
Clarke is specifically looking back at her freshman year compared to where she is now and feels she has improved.
“There is a certain amount of wisdom you gain over running this many years,” Clarke said. “Through COVID and through injuries I learned how to tough it out even if I was not running my best. Even if I have not run my best time in a while, I was able to keep myself motivated.”
Head Coach Derick “Ringo” Adamson also agrees she has improved over the years.
“As a freshman, she did not show that much,” Ringo said. “But over time you can see she is right there with everyone else because she put in the work. Since freshman year, she has gotten better every year of her career.”
Clarke had a great end to her freshman year when she finished sixth at the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championships. After having that strong finish to her freshman year, she could not participate in the following season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID was rough,” Clarke said. “I had to look at it as a temporary place and this is not going to be forever. I just kept telling myself when this is over, I have goals I need to accomplish and I am going to accomplish them.”
When the sport returned in the 2021 season, Clarke had a solid season where she finished 13th at the NJAC Championships. She was also named, once again, a Rowan Scholar-Athlete of Distinction.
Ringo does not only want to highlight her running career but also wants to highlight her equally impressive academic career.
“She is really someone the rest of the team can look up to,” Ringo said. “She is a great student. The work ethic she has as an engineering student inside and outside the classroom is something the rest of the young women on the team should be looking at.”
With Clarke graduating next semester, there is one piece of advice she wants her teammates to take away from her.
“I want to teach my teammates that they can rely on each other,” Clarke said. “Whatever they are feeling, other people on the team might be feeling it too. We are here for each other and even though this might be seen as an individual sport, it is not as individual as people think.”
Ringo also agrees with that advice and thinks that Clarke has used that advice throughout her time on the team.
“Sha’lynn [Clarke] really needs the others,” Ringo said. “Training is hard for her or anyone to do alone because running is already a lonely sport as it is. But with her teammates, you could see them motivating each other and helping each other improve.”
Clarke expects this to be the best season of her cross-country career. Her teammates and Ringo are right there with her as they are looking for her to be a key contributor as they look forward to the rest of the season.
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