April 17, 2008
by Malcolm Butler
RUSTON - She's not the Lone Ranger, although sometimes she might feel like it.
No, Louisiana Tech catcher Regan Clark is simply the lone senior on this year's Lady Techster softball team.
It's a leadership position that Clark has readily accepted.
"Being the lone senior holds a lot of responsibility," Clark said. "However, I get help from some of the juniors. They really take some of the load off of me at times. In a way I am the Lone Ranger, but at the same time I do have some teammates helping out so it isn't bad."
Clark will be playing her final home games this weekend when the Lady Techsters host Utah State in an important Western Athletic Conference series starting Friday at 6 p.m.
Clark signed with Tech in 2005 after a stellar prep career at Hesperia High School where she hit over .400 as a junior and senior.
Although she had never heard of Louisiana Tech prior to Lady Techster head coach Sarah Dawson contacting her during her senior season in high school, she fell in love with the school on her visit and verbally committed to the program before leaving to go back home.
Dawson said that she has really seen Clark grow during her four years in Ruston, both as an individual and as a team leader.
"I think Regan's nature as a person is a giving one," Dawson said. "She is very comfortable in her role of supporting and encouraging her teammates. She wants to be a teacher. I think that is part of who she is."
However, heading into this season, Dawson knew that she needed Clark to step up and be more of a vocal leader even when it meant getting onto her teammates.
"It's interesting because I don't think Regan is always comfortable at being an enforcer; being the bad guy who sometimes has to whip people into shape," Dawson said. "We asked her to explore that side of herself a little more coming into her senior year.
Clark said her transition to a leadership role wasn't easy at first but now she feels much more comfortable with it.
"It was hard at the beginning, especially not knowing the freshmen," Clark said. "I didn't know how they would react. I knew the returners would respect my position and listen to me. It's alright now. I don't have a problem with getting onto anyone if the situation calls for it."
According to both Dawson and Clark, she's never had a problem getting onto herself. In fact, that's been an issue that has affected her performance on the field at times during her first three years but not this season.
"As a competitor I think Regan always expects her best, and she has pretty high standards for her performance level," Dawson said. "I think for the first couple of years she really struggled staying positive with herself when she didn't play up to her expectations. She is a perfectionist."
During her sophomore season, Clark was almost perfect. She batted .356 with career-highs in runs (21), home runs (5), RBI (35) and hits (52). She earned first team all-Western Athletic Conference honors and first team all-state accolades by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
However, her junior year was not as productive as she struggled, hitting only .236 with 15 RBI and seven runs scored.
"When she would struggle, she would beat herself up over it," Dawson said. "We stressed to her how important it was to stay positive even when she thought she might have failed at something. She came in to her senior year with a positive attitude, and she's kept that mentality. Now you're seeing her drive in runs and being the No. 4 hitter we need her to be."
So far this season, Clark has been one of the Lady Techsters top run-producers. Through 49 games, Clark is batting .276 with a team-high 10 doubles, three home runs and 29 RBIs.
"Changing my mindset has been great (for me)," Clark said. "The coaching staff has really worked with me on that. It has helped. I understand that letting things go is the best course of action. It's a lot better to be positive than to be negative."
And with only seven regular season games remaining in her collegiate career, Clark said she is thankful for her decision to come to Louisiana Tech.
"Looking back, I wouldn't change one thing about it," Clark said.