By Caroline ’14 and Christina ’14
When Varsity Basketball point guard Clara ’14 decided to join the Varsity Track team during the 2010-2011 school year to strengthen her endurance and stay in shape during the basketball off-season, she had no idea that she was about to master a second sport. Despite having joined the team without any prior experience, Clara’s speed and endurance qualified her to compete in the 400-meter race in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) finals on Jun. 3-4, 2011, finishing sixth with a time of 59.0 seconds. Her personal best is 58.8 seconds, just 3.28 seconds shy of the Marlborough record, 55.52.
“She is an amazing runner,” teammate Uriel ’14 said. “There are some people who start track as freshmen who don’t really know their goals, but she had a natural talent that boosted her up to [CIF] level. It’s really surprising and great for our team, too.”
This year, Clara led the Varsity Basketball team in scoring and helped bring the Mustangs to the second round of the CIF finals. She was elected MVP of both the Marlborough team and of the Sunshine League overall, and was also chosen out of thousands to be named All-CIF second team, a recognition for players that CIF considers to be exceptional. After this year’s basketball season ended, she was encouraged to rejoin the Track team by Head Track Coach Jimmie Grant and Athletics Assistant and Assistant Varsity Basketball Coach Shaina Zaidi.
Clara said that she found that the two sports complement each other: basketball is running intensive, which helped her push herself at the ends of races, and track increased her endurance.
“The one thing I learned in track was that if you don’t run your hardest, you’ll be running for a longer amount of time, so you better run faster. And then that mentality transferred into basketball, so I would be able to have the energy to run faster,” she said.
Zaidi agreed that Clara’s time on the Varsity Track team was beneficial.
“Basketball is all about quickness, and she was able to transfer [what she learned on track] into a sport that was dear to her heart,” Zaidi said.
Though time management is difficult because her club basketball team, California Storm, practices on the same days as track, Clara is dedicated to pursuing both sports.
“I have to sacrifice some things in track and some things in basketball to make it work, but in the end it’ll work out,” she said.
Zaidi said that she thinks that Clara’s talent at both sports will help her reach her goal of playing NCAA Division 1 basketball in college.
“She is committed,” Zaidi said. “[Now] it’s about continuously being open to coaching and instruction, and growing and maturing not only in basketball and track but also as an individual.”