Clarke pushes for CCS finals senior year March 16, 2010 — by Izzy Albert The common phrase "every little bit counts" is one that senior thrower Connor Clarke can truly relate to. Last year, Clarke was less than an inch short of qualifying for CCS Finals in shot put, throwing 48'4". However, the fact that he was so close only makes Clarke hungrier for the upcoming season. "I feel like I'm ready for the challenges this year," said Clarke. "I'm shooting for possibly a place in states, which can be done if I keep improving." The common phrase “every little bit counts” is one that senior thrower Connor Clarke can truly relate to. Last year, Clarke was less than an inch short of qualifying for CCS Finals in shot put, throwing 48’4″. However, the fact that he was so close only makes Clarke hungrier for the upcoming season. “I feel like I’m ready for the challenges this year,” said Clarke. “I’m shooting for possibly a place in states, which can be done if I keep improving.” The process of shot put is to launch a spherical metal ball weighing 12 pounds as far as possible. According to Clarke, shotput relies on “raw strength and precise technique to package a great throw.” Clarke started shot put in the sixth grade because he thought it would be the perfect fit for his body type. Since then, the 6-foot, 3-inch 280-pounder has participated in shotput each track season, improving drastically every year. “The way to improve is just by practicing and figuring out what works and what doesn’t,” said Clarke. Intense determination and focus are key characteristics of every shot putter. While many sports require high levels of stamina, the shot put depends on an athlete’s ability to put everything into a couple of seconds. “I like shot put because for those three seconds you have to put in every ounce of power you have,” said Clarke. “The results never lie.” Clarke has been a great inspiration to his teammates, always coming to practice with “a smile on his face and ready to go,” according to sophomore teammate Brandon Oliveri O’Connor. “[Clarke] really shows everybody that with a good attitude, we can bring out our best performance,” said Oliveri O’Connor. “Shotput may be an individual sport, but [Clarke] brings us all together as a team.” Along with shotput, Clarke has also been playing football for the last four years. While he does hope to continue sport at an undecided college next year, Clarke said, “[Football] is a fraternal team sport, and [shotput] is more of an individual performance,” adding that “the two sports are like apples and oranges.” Playing the position of left tackle, football has pushed Clarke to grow in many different ways over the years. However, shotput has taught Clarke self-confidence and focus. “[Shotput] has taught me how to be determined to work towards being the best and reaching goals whether they are long term or week by week,” said Clarke.