Spencer Clark has more athletic stuff in his garage than he sometimes knows what to do with.
Clark, a junior at Dowling Catholic High School, grew up watching his mom, Julie Zirke Clark, swim, bike and run her way into success in all three sports individually and put together as one, in the sport of triathlon.
Five years ago, Spencer joined the Z3 Junior Triathlon team, where he was coached to put three disciplines together — swimming, cycling and running. During the years, he excelled in triathlon, often making the trip home from a race with a podium finisher’s medal hanging around his neck.
Upon entering high school, it was natural for him to join the cross country and track teams in the fall and spring, and swim through the winter.
“Cross country in the fall, swimming in the winter and summer, track in the spring and triathlons in the summer,” says Clark. “Yeah, I have no life.”
While he may struggle to fit in some of the normal teenager activities like finishing his homework and hanging out with friends, he has filled his life with a variety of experiences unlike any other high schooler — athlete or not.
While his Z3 Triathlon Team is busy traveling to regional, national and even world championship races from Chicago to Europe, his high school teams have been sweeping up conference, district and state championship medals.
Most high school athletes would be proud to own even a conference championship medal in a single sport. Clark owns many and in multiple sports.
Hanging near his triathlon bike is his 2012 Iowa High School Cross Country Champion team medal. Dowling placed three runners in the top 10 finishers in the October meet. Clark, Dowling’s third runner, finished eighth overall.
From there, the Maroons traveled to Sioux Falls, S.D., for a regional cross country meet, including teams from seven states. Dowling earned a trip to the Nike National Cross Country meet in Portland, Ore., by placing second among the more than 30 teams.
Currently, Clark grabs his swim fins and goggles off the wall as he heads to the Dowling pool for early morning practices with his high school swim team, now ranked in the top three in Iowa. It is his hope, as well as that of the team, to overtake the 2012 defending champions of Muscatine to win his second team state title in four months. After swim season, he will trade in his goggles for his running shoes to join the Dowling track team, where he and his teammates will again be trying to move up one rung on the ladder, from the 2012 runners up, to hopeful 2013 State champions. After that, back to the bike for triathlon season. The items in Clark’s garage do a good job of keeping him busy year round.