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This season marks the fourth season since the return of the softball program to Weber State University. With the anniversary comes the first four-year softball graduate.
London Clarke, who will graduate this summer semester with a double major in health promotion and psychology, is the only player left on the team who remembers what it was like to restart the softball program, which had been dropped in 1983.
“It was exciting,” Clarke said. “It was a big deal. It was a great experience for a team just starting out. To be here all four years, it has been fun. We’ve come so far. Every year we have just been getting better and better, becoming more of a program.”
Head coach Tina Johnson, who was hired to restart the WSU softball program, will have a much bigger void to fill than just center field when Clarke leaves after the season.
“London is probably one of the hardest-working players we’ve had in our program,” Johnson said. “She always works hard. She has a great attitude. She always wants to get better and has been a real student of the game. No matter what, she is always practicing hard. She always gives her best effort. She has a lot of drive and determination and just a ton of heart that not every athlete has.”
The softball team has made major strides over Johnson’s and Clarke’s careers. In its first season, the team finished with just two wins in 50 games. The second season showed much improvement, with the team winning 12 of its 50 games. Last season, the team improved even more, finishing with 21 wins in its 53 games, and finished in second place in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference Mountain Division.
In addition, over the past two seasons, Clarke has had the unique opportunity to play with her younger sister, Cydnee.
“I had never played any games with her before until college,” Clarke said. “In school, I never was able to be on the same team as her. It was a lot of fun.”
Johnson said Clarke playing on the same team as her younger sister was a good experience for both of them.
“I think they have a good relationship, and it was really important for them to have the opportunity to play together,” Johnson said. “I think it was a good thing for both of them. They are so different, but yet they have each other’s back. I think that is an important part of their experience here.”
Clarke, who was born and raised in the Ogden area, said she has absolutely loved her time as a Wildcat.
“I love Weber State,” she said. “I loved the four years here. They were really fun, and it was a really good experience for me. I loved putting on the uniform and being part of the team and the program.”
With a new chapter of her life beginning, Clarke leaves the program much stronger than when it was formed, and she said she sees an even brighter future in the seasons to come.
“Every year, we are getting better and better,” she said. “I just think, in the next years, we’ll be on top. We’re improving all the time.”