Anna Clark is a graduating senior from Senatobia High School. Anna specializes in the distance events, with PR's of 2:35 in the 800m and 19:58 in the 5k(xc), and just finished this season placing 2nd in the 3200m at the 2021 MHSAA 3A State Meet. In the Fall of 2021, Anna will be taking her versatile running talents to Delta State University to run cross country. Delta State University is a NCAA Division 2 program based out of Cleveland, MS, which is less than 100 miles south of her hometown of Senatobia. Delta State is a member of the Gulf South Conference. Last year, Delta State landed 7 of their women on the GSC Academic Honor Roll. Delta State also just named a new head coach in Britnee Smith back in February of this year, after Doug Pinkerton stepped down after 18 seasons of coaching.
Once at Delta State, Anna will be majoring in Geospatial Information Technologies. Geospatial technology is something that acquires data from the Earth and uses it for analysis, modelling, simulations, and visualization - So, a GPS would be considered a geospatial technology. Through Delta State, Anna will be able to gain experience in her field of study through internships and technician positions that are available in their labs, as well being able to travel with the faculty to participate in professional events such as UN technical advisory missions, observe NGAC meetings, and present at national conferences.
Learn a little bit about Anna's story below, and how she got to where she is today!
Explain your 'running journey'... (How did you get into running, how did your senior season go, and how did you get connected with the college that you are going to?)
I did a lot of sports when I was younger and running was just the one that stuck with me. My family would sign me up for random races and I would just run them and I would have a lot of fun so I signed up for the XC team at my school in 7th grade and have been going at it ever since.
My senior season was definitely kinda a miss. My XC season getting put in a boot for weeks because of a stress fracture and not being able to go for the times I wanted to get. And track season hurting my knee from a fall and then the next week getting nerve damage in my foot. Even thou my season was not the way anyone wanted it to go. I was still able to compete at the end of it, I still ran at states for XC and placed 7th, I still got to states in track and ran 4 events, and got to be apart of my track team members both girls and boys win states.
I got in touch with my college from the coach of DSU reaching out to my high school coach and him letting me know. I told my coach to give DSU my number and I went for a visit and decided that was where I wanted to go.
What is your most memorable meet/race and why?
2019 Track State Championship, 3200. I ran my fastest time, and was able to take off on the last lap to win the race, and the feeling I had on the last lap of not feeling pain and just being so focused is something I will never forget.
Out of all your high school achievements, which one means the most to you and why?
The records I broke on our schools record board for track and XC. A lot of those hadn't been broken in years and I had broken 4 of them during my time as a high schooler and I take pride in knowing I worked for those times on the board.
If you could go back and do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?
I wish I could give the younger me the mind the current me has. The mind of doing what I want to do and not caring if someone wants to try and pressure me into doing something else. I would also give the old me the confidence to let me enjoy my sport that I have a passion for.
Who is somebody that you look up to / someone that helped you along your journey to get you where you are today?
A few people actually. The guys I used to run with on the team, who even though annoyed me to the point of wanting to throw them down a hill, helped me get faster and made the runs a lot more fun. Them being faster than me gave me someone to chase and helped me to become a better runner. They would joke around at their casual pace while I would be with them completely dying because their casual pace was so different from mine.
My boyfriend of 2 years is another who has constantly supported me since we ran on the team together to now. We always train together and give each other advice with running and support each other when we need it.
What will you miss the most?
The old environment of dragging myself up at 5:30 am almost everyday and going to run on a muddy, humid trail with a team who was equally as tired as me and still running and trying our best. Seeing each other at our worst and at our best is the team relationship I will miss in High School, and hope to have again at DSU.
What piece of advice would you give to the younger athletes that are just getting started on their journey?
YOU control your own running journey, do not let people take that from you. Don't let you family, friends, coaches or anyone take the fun out of your sport, because at the end of the day its you who is getting out on that trail or track and running those races, you are in control, don't get up to the line feeling like you HAVE to do this you HAVE to run a certain time or else. No, do it because you WANT to do it, because you WANT to run those times. Don't let the pressure get to the point of physical and mental exhaustion.
Don't lose your passion, because it's a long road to get it back.
Are you a graduating senior who is competing in college, and you haven't filled out the survey yet? Well what are you waiting for?!? Fill it out for your chance to get your very own feature on Mississippi MileSplit, as well as letting other younger runners know how to get to where you are.