Sept. 15, 2009
Fifth-year senior Daniel Clark is a standout distance runner and miler on the Irish cross country and track teams. The Jackson, Mich., native took first place in the mile at the Notre Dame Indoor Opener last season with a time of 4:14:97 and ended his senior campaign on a high note with a ninth-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the NCAA Mideast Regionals in 3:51:43. Clark sat down with UND.com to tell us a little more about himself.
1. Why did you start running?
I started running track for fun, and then I ended up quitting soccer to run cross country to get in better shape for track. It was really just for fun, and because I enjoyed it.
2. What is your favorite event to run?
Definitely track. I like the mile in track, because the mid-distance is more of my specialty. Cross country, which is 8K, is a little long.
3. What do you think about while you are running?
During races, it is complete focus on the task at hand, whereas at practice, you are just chatting with your friends and having a good time. During races, I just focus and try to block out the pain and focus on what I have to get done. I don’t hear anything when I race.
4. Do you have any pre-race superstitions?
I say I’m not superstitious, but I do everything the same before every race. I just get a routine down that I am comfortable with and stick with it. I’ll eat the same things at the same time, do a shake-out run before the race, all the little things.
5. How did you bounce back from your knee injury and surgery during your sophomore year?
I didn’t run for about a full year and at some points didn’t know if I would ever be able to run again, but I was able to get through. It was really tough, but the trainers and everyone kept positive, and I was able to get back into it.
6. What was it like for you to have to sit on the sidelines for a year?
I wasn’t depressed, but I called it a little depression, because when something you define yourself by and are passionate about is taken away from you and you can’t do anything about it, it’s tough. It made me hungrier to come back.
7. What are you goals for your senior season?
The cross country team has a lot of potential, and we’re just waiting to show everybody what we can do. For track, again, we are shooting for the BIG EAST Championships, indoor and outdoor … that’s the main focus and hopefully I can run a few personal best times, too.
8. What do you like to do when you aren’t running?
I love watching the Tigers and the Red Wings; I love Michigan sports.
9. Do you have any nicknames?
Clarky or DC
10. What was your biggest accomplishment on the track?
Last year, at the BIG EAST Championships for indoor track, I had pretty bad tendonitis and wasn’t able to train that much going in. But I was able to muster up a decent race and got second somehow. The time wasn’t the fastest, but it was good enough to help contribute points to the team.
11. What is your favorite memory with your Irish teammates?
Definitely our fall break training camp in Michigan and just traveling with your best friends to all the races.
12. What is the hardest part about being a student-athlete at Notre Dame?
Having to prioritize with academics and athletics. Just finding that balance to be efficient with your homework time more so than a non-athlete would have to be.
13. What is the best part of being a student-athlete at Notre Dame?
The camaraderie with the team and traveling and competing for Notre Dame.
14. Any favorite foods to eat before a race?
I love pasta and muffins.
15. What song is on repeat on your iPod?
“Anything” by the Goo Goo Dolls.
16. What are your plans for after college?
I’m in the Masters of Accounting program, and I’m going to be an auditor for Ernst and Young in Detroit next year.
17. Do you have a favorite course to run?
I really enjoy competing at the Armory in New York City, the indoor track facility where we have the BIG EAST. It’s a really sweet atmosphere there, with the stands and the fans all around.
18. Do you have a favorite professor or class at Notre Dame?
I really like Professor Ricchiute, who teaches my auditing course. He’s so personable and teaches at a conversational level. He’s not lecturing at you, but telling you how it is.
19. What is the most important thing you have learned from your Notre Dame coaches?
Consistency and hard work will definitely pay off.
20. What does being part of the Fighting Irish mean to you?
It means a ton and is a dream come true. It’s an honor because we’ve had so many great people here, before and currently, so it’s great to be part of that tradition.
— ND —