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Making It Look Easy

Steady and Consistent, Ceci Clark Leads by Example

By Andrew J. Arends, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard senior Ceci Clark consistently made a number of hard things look remarkably easy over the last four years.

Stuffing an opponent's offensive rush on the lacrosse field, switching positions in her final year for the field hockey team, quietly leading the Crimson to Ivy championships and NCI tournament bids all came naturally to the South Hamilton, Mass.-native.

The final thing she made look easy was the selection of the Harvard Crimson Female Athlete of the Year.

Clark embodies the ultimate Harvard student-athlete. Dedicated, giving, inspiring and unassuming are just a few of the ways teammates and coaches describe her. She quietly and consistently gets the job done with a minimum of flash or fuss.

"Steady and consistent is her trademark," says Sue Caples, field hockey coach. "She was the glue that held everything together."

Clark's teammates and opponents no doubt agree with Caples' assessment. Clark was twice elected captain of the field hockey and lacrosse squads. And, this past year, Ivy coaches voted her player of the year in both sports.

"Ceci is a quiet, inspirational leader," Lacrosse Coach Carole Kleinfelder says. "She lets her play talk for her. She does what she's supposed to do, and then talksabout. Her philosophy is that once you do it, thenyou can ask others to step up to that level."

And that level is pretty high. In the regularseason, Clark led the lacrosse team in groundballs while committing only six turnovers inalmost 700 minutes of play.

Clark started each of her four years on boththe field hockey and lacrosse teams. In lacrosseshe was always a defender, while in field hockeyshe switched over to offense for her final season.

"She was the quarterback of our offense thisyear, and that big of an adjustment is a lot toask of anyone, but she had the ability to controlthe whole game," Caples says.

In lacrosse, Clark controlled the defense fromher cover-point position. She inherited the jobafter All-America Maggie Vaughan's graduation in1990.

"I had to do a lot of talking with themidfielders, pick up any missed opponents, andguard someone myself," Clark says.

Talking is something, that Clark doesn't liketo do a lot of, especially about herself.

"She is the ideal teammate: unassuming,dedicated, consistent and a great inspiration,"says fellow senior lacrosse player Sarah Leary."She has a love of the sport and her teammates.There is no one I would rather have in front of meon defense."

Clark's dedication showed through in the winterof 1990. Having been elected co-captain of thelacrosse team that spring, she chose to forego herjunior and senior seasons of ice hockey so shecould lead lacrosse through indoor practices inFebruary.

"We lost seven seniors from the 1990 titleteam, and there was real leadership void,"Kleinfelder says.

"The team place a lot of faith in me, naming ajunior to be captain, and I wanted to pay themback. There were seniors there to provideleadership, but I wanted to be there as well,"Clark says.

Clark also says she valued the time off fromhockey and the opportunity to hone her lacrosseskills in the pre-sea-son.

She used that time well. In 1991, the Crimsonreturned to the NCAA tournament and repeated asIvy League champions. Clark was named First TeamAll-America along the way, and honor she won againin 1992.

"I worried about her filling Maggie's [Vaughan]shoes as the leader of the defense, but after thefirst game of the season I never worried again,"Kleinfelder says.

"Maggie was a great role model for me. Weplayed the same position. We were both Ivy LeaguePlayer of the Year," Clark says.

Such a great role model, in fact, that aftergraduation Clark will follow Vaughan once again,this time to Episcopal High School in Alexandria,Va., where she will teach English and, likeVaughan, coach lacrosse.

Clark attributes family, teammates like Vaughanand inspirational and experienced coaches likeKleinfelder and Caples.

"The older players taught me so much, and whenI became one of the older players, I wanted to dothe same," Clark says. "My family was alsoimportant. They have been to almost all my gamesevery year, and we play a lot of sports at hometogether, not against each other, but with eachother."

Kleinfelder and Caples point out that Clark'sstrongest asset is her work ethic.

"He work ethic is incredible. She was the firstperson to practice, running before everyone elsegot there, and then, if she felt she didn't have ahard enough workout, she'd run again afterwards,"Kleinfelder says. "She worked very hard, and yetwasn't compulsive about it."

Though Clark's mantle is certainly full ofhonors from her collegiate athletic career, theMather senior says that sports have helped her,above all, develop as a person.

"It has given me confidence in myself andothers that I will take from the field and use inother areas," Clark says.

"Even more than my personal gain has been thethrill of helping building a successful program infield hockey, as well as being part of a traditionof excellence in lacrosse. It is great to be ableto see both stage of development," she says.

What Clark has taken away from Harvard is onlymatched by what she has given back. While mergingathletics and academics, she has also cultivated atrait not often found at Harvard: a genuinewillingness to give of herself to others.

"Harvard has been lucky to have her. She is theconsummate team player and has been a pleasure tocoach," Caples says.

Kleinfelder puts it best: "Harvard will missher [Her graduation] will be a real loss to thecommunity.

And that level is pretty high. In the regularseason, Clark led the lacrosse team in groundballs while committing only six turnovers inalmost 700 minutes of play.

Clark started each of her four years on boththe field hockey and lacrosse teams. In lacrosseshe was always a defender, while in field hockeyshe switched over to offense for her final season.

"She was the quarterback of our offense thisyear, and that big of an adjustment is a lot toask of anyone, but she had the ability to controlthe whole game," Caples says.

In lacrosse, Clark controlled the defense fromher cover-point position. She inherited the jobafter All-America Maggie Vaughan's graduation in1990.

"I had to do a lot of talking with themidfielders, pick up any missed opponents, andguard someone myself," Clark says.

Talking is something, that Clark doesn't liketo do a lot of, especially about herself.

"She is the ideal teammate: unassuming,dedicated, consistent and a great inspiration,"says fellow senior lacrosse player Sarah Leary."She has a love of the sport and her teammates.There is no one I would rather have in front of meon defense."

Clark's dedication showed through in the winterof 1990. Having been elected co-captain of thelacrosse team that spring, she chose to forego herjunior and senior seasons of ice hockey so shecould lead lacrosse through indoor practices inFebruary.

"We lost seven seniors from the 1990 titleteam, and there was real leadership void,"Kleinfelder says.

"The team place a lot of faith in me, naming ajunior to be captain, and I wanted to pay themback. There were seniors there to provideleadership, but I wanted to be there as well,"Clark says.

Clark also says she valued the time off fromhockey and the opportunity to hone her lacrosseskills in the pre-sea-son.

She used that time well. In 1991, the Crimsonreturned to the NCAA tournament and repeated asIvy League champions. Clark was named First TeamAll-America along the way, and honor she won againin 1992.

"I worried about her filling Maggie's [Vaughan]shoes as the leader of the defense, but after thefirst game of the season I never worried again,"Kleinfelder says.

"Maggie was a great role model for me. Weplayed the same position. We were both Ivy LeaguePlayer of the Year," Clark says.

Such a great role model, in fact, that aftergraduation Clark will follow Vaughan once again,this time to Episcopal High School in Alexandria,Va., where she will teach English and, likeVaughan, coach lacrosse.

Clark attributes family, teammates like Vaughanand inspirational and experienced coaches likeKleinfelder and Caples.

"The older players taught me so much, and whenI became one of the older players, I wanted to dothe same," Clark says. "My family was alsoimportant. They have been to almost all my gamesevery year, and we play a lot of sports at hometogether, not against each other, but with eachother."

Kleinfelder and Caples point out that Clark'sstrongest asset is her work ethic.

"He work ethic is incredible. She was the firstperson to practice, running before everyone elsegot there, and then, if she felt she didn't have ahard enough workout, she'd run again afterwards,"Kleinfelder says. "She worked very hard, and yetwasn't compulsive about it."

Though Clark's mantle is certainly full ofhonors from her collegiate athletic career, theMather senior says that sports have helped her,above all, develop as a person.

"It has given me confidence in myself andothers that I will take from the field and use inother areas," Clark says.

"Even more than my personal gain has been thethrill of helping building a successful program infield hockey, as well as being part of a traditionof excellence in lacrosse. It is great to be ableto see both stage of development," she says.

What Clark has taken away from Harvard is onlymatched by what she has given back. While mergingathletics and academics, she has also cultivated atrait not often found at Harvard: a genuinewillingness to give of herself to others.

"Harvard has been lucky to have her. She is theconsummate team player and has been a pleasure tocoach," Caples says.

Kleinfelder puts it best: "Harvard will missher [Her graduation] will be a real loss to thecommunity.

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