Most high school sophomores are only beginning to think about the college they’ll attend, let alone deciding what their major will be – but for rising junior at Robbinsdale Armstrong High, Lauren Clark, that decision came a lot sooner than…
Most high school sophomores are only beginning to think about the college they’ll attend, let alone deciding what their major will be – but for rising junior at Robbinsdale Armstrong High, Lauren Clark, that decision came a lot sooner than expected.
The 6’1” outside hitter verbally committed to play for Penn State University’s elite volleyball program this past fall, citing not only their history of national championships, but what she called their “top notch” medical platform as the reasons for her choice. Penn State’s teaching hospital and medical network on the east coast were a huge draw to Clark’s aspirations of becoming a doctor one day.
Calling it her dream school, Clark always had her eyes set on a Big Ten school.
“It was really about the feeling I got when I visited the campus and met the volleyball coaches and players,” Clark said. “I just knew!”
Clark always had college volleyball at the forefront of her goals, but wasn’t always sure of the likelihood of that reality. It wasn’t until her first season with the Crossfire volleyball club that she said it became clear she had a strong chance; she was only 14 years old when she began playing for their 15-1 team.
“The recruitment process was a whirlwind of many emails, phone calls, and trips around the country,” Clark recalled. “My mom practically had a part-time job in managing the process.”
From Ohio State, to the University of Colorado, Clark had her fair share of invitations to visit. She also chose to visit bigger schools on her own, including the University of Southern California, Kansas University, and the University of Florida.
As part of the 2019 class, the Minnesota native still has a couple years until she gets to live out her dream at the collegiate level. Clark’s 16-1 club team recently took third place at the 2017 Girls’ Junior National Championship, where she was named an All-American for the second year in a row. They were also the runner-up in the premier division at this year’s AAU National Championship.
Despite her early career success, Clark continues to set goals for herself. For the club season, she hopes to increase her game IQ and improve her hitting range. As for her upcoming high school season, Clark is focusing on her back row play, as well as improving her skills to be a six-rotation player.
While Clark says Armstrong is currently in a rebuilding season, the team managed to finish this past fall with a 17-5-2 overall record. Helping her team reach various tournament dubs, Clark says her strengths lie in her jumping ability to hit, block, and a powerful arm swing on her attacks.
But what’s a good game without some pregame rituals? The future Nittany Lion says aside from listening to music, she listens to motivational speaker, Eric Thomas to help amp her up.
Ranked third in our list of players to watch for the 2019 class, it’s hard to believe Clark almost chose soccer over volleyball at one point – we’re for one glad she didn’t.