My name is Juliana Clark and I have been playing for Tenacity the past five years. In
high school I competed for Sacred Heart Prep and the BearLax 2016 Blue team. I currently play
for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) lacrosse team.
I am a highly competitive and extremely social individual which made growing up as an
only child a difficult task. Athletics and team sports have filled my afternoons and weekends ever
since I can remember, teaching me to be extremely motivated, bringing out the best of my
competitive spirit, and offering me an irreplaceable community that I am forever grateful. In
every game or weight I lift, I’ve learned to compete with not just others, but myself too.
However, it wasn’t until I started playing lacrosse that I discovered this balance — being able to
challenge myself to my own personal gains as well as accepting and celebrating the wins and
losses of my team too. Not only that, but my teammates have been encouraging and accepting
me in every way possible.
It wasn’t until 7th grade that I picked up my first lacrosse stick. I didn’t know much about
the game, and if someone told my twelve year old self that I would be playing college lacrosse, I
wouldn’t have believed them. Trying out for my local middle school league was very
intimidating at first, I was placed on the ‘B’ team after giving it my all. I felt completely
discouraged; I only wanted to compete with the ‘A’ team, but lacrosse is not easy for anyone
when starting. Simple skills such as throwing and catching are difficult, and attempting to do this
while running seemed like an impossible task. I wanted to return to sports that were more
familiar to me, like soccer or basketball. Little did I know these teammates would soon become
Freshman year of high school was also difficult for me. I was unable to immediately find
a group of friends that would unconditionally support me. But then I discovered BearLax. I was
nervous and shy when I subbed in as a guest player for a local tournament. The rest of the girls
lived over an hour away from me and I believed that we would have little to nothing in common.
We attended different high schools and didn’t know anything about each others families/friends.
The only common interest we had was lacrosse. However, after just one practice I immediately
knew that this was unique group of girls. Not only did the the team have raw athletic talent, but
BearLax was paired with skilled coaches and an inclusive family vibe that I hadn’t experienced
before. Throughout my high school career all of my weekends became filled with BearLax
practices and my summers were filled with tournaments. Sunday’s became my favorite day
because I got to hang with my BearLax teammates. I would argue that my love for the game was
fostered through the BearLax community that continues to push me to become a better version of
myself, both on and off the field.
Coached by Lauren Schmidt and mentored by Theresa Sherry, 15 of these players
continued on to play D1, and two, including myself, went D3. Being a west-coast team, this had
been unheard of. I knew from a very young age that in order to be the best meant you essentially
had to play with the best. That’s why I was proud when I wore my BearLax jersey. I loved
representing the program, but also my teammates and my coaches who have continuously
supported me in both my physical and mental growth throughout high school.
Being a D3 athlete has given me the ability to challenge myself on the field from day one
and enabled me to uphold a balance between my academic, athletic, and social life. At the end of
the day, Tenacity has taught me that it’s not always about scoring the most goals or being the
team with the most wins, but competing with a team and myself to be the best defense player,
student, and friend I can possibly be.