It's hard to believe, but MoCo has less than three months left to appreciate the talents of the class of 2015. Whitman senior Clare Severe has always been a highlight of the group, and it takes more than two hands to count the amount of county, region, and state titles she has to her name. And we're not just talking about track - Clare might even be more widely known in the county for her prowess as a star soccer player. Between her tenacity on the oval and her drive on the field, Whitman is definitely going to miss her athletic talents in the fall. As she begins her farewell tour this spring, MoCoRunning took the opportunity to try and dig deeper into what makes Clare such a unique multi-sport talent.
MoCoRunning: Okay Clare, I'm just going to go ahead and address the elephant in the room - which is better, soccer or track?
Clare Severe: Definitely soccer. I've always had a love-hate relationship with track, but I think I've finally found a happy medium.
MoCoRunning: Alright, maybe that question wasn't quite fair. How'd you get into track - I assume soccer was your first passion?
Clare: Yes, I've always loved soccer since I was very young. I always knew I was a pretty good runner, so I joined indoor track as a sprinter my freshman year to stay in shape for soccer in the spring. Quickly, I was sucked into the competition of track. I realized I was having a lot more success at the mid-distances, so with a lot of encouragement from Coach Hays I switched to train with the distance runners and never looked back.
MoCoRunning: There's no doubt that you've made huge strides in both sports as you've progressed through high school. How has your work on the oval translated to your skills on the field (and vice versa)?
Clare: Track has definitely helped my soccer because so much of the game is running. Especially as an outside back, I'm expected to be able to run endline to endline, so having that extra level of fitness helps me to keep going all game long and tire my opponents out. Also, it has definitely helped to hone my competitive edge, since track is such raw competition, and the concreteness is something I love about it. Soccer benefits my running because I always have a base level of fitness, even at the beginning of a new season. I do a lot of running outside of track just by playing soccer, and it helps to keep me sane, because balancing both sports allows me to get very involved without being over the top and taking all of the little things too seriously.
MoCoRunning: You are coming off of an impressive double-whammy victory (800m and 4x800m) at the Indoor 4A State Championships where you ran the state meet #2 all-time 800m performance (2:15.30) and probably ran even faster in the 4x800. What's in store for outdoors - can we expect to see you return to the 1600m?
Clare: Thank you! For outdoor, I'm really just looking to enjoy myself and better my times since this could be my last season running. I haven't decided whether I'm going to run the 1600 seriously yet. I may run it a few times, but for now I'm thinking I'm definitely going to stick with the 4x800 and 800 and probably run some 4x400's.
MoCoRunning: Speaking of outdoors, how's training been going? Is there anything in particular that you've been doing differently lately?
Clare: The beginning was a little choppy with all the snow, so I wasn't always able to run and we didn't do any workouts for a while. However things are back on schedule: we've entered what Coach Hays calls the third phase of our training, which is a lot of interval running and some shorter speed workouts.
MoCoRunning: It's obvious you're a hard worker, so what's your favorite workout? What particular session gets you feeling ready for a fast race?
Clare: Generally my favorite workout is anything that's not 1000m repeats, haha. I can't say I particularly love any of the workouts, but when we do a workout at 800m race pace and I can hit the times, it always gives me a huge boost of confidence and I feel fast.
MoCoRunning: On a similar note, what's your favorite event? By the look of your MoCoRunning profile, you'll take on anything from the 200m to the 3200m.
Clare: I'd definitely have to say that my favorite event is the 800m. My sophomore year I would have said the 1600, but recently I've really found the 800m to be the perfect length-- not a sprint, but still fast and over quickly.
MoCoRunning: It's probably scary to think about, but graduation is only a little over two months away. I can only imagine the college search has been stressful - any decisions?
Clare: Thinking about graduating is very stressful! Although, the college search process has been over for me for a while because recruiting for women's soccer is early. I committed to play soccer at Lehigh University at the start of my junior year. I'm not sure yet whether I'm going to run or not. My coaches said it would be okay, but I'm not sure if playing two D1 sports would be too much for me.
MoCoRunning: So you're an athlete - everyone knows that! What's something about you that the county doesn't know?
Clare: Hmm, I guess one thing about me not relating to sports is that I do photography as a hobby. I've taken a class for the past four years in school. When I have free time, I find it very relaxing to grab my camera and go on a hike or spend a few hours in DC.
At this time, Severe has two county, seven region, and six individual state titles in the 800m and 1600m. Additionally she has anchored two state champion 4x800m relays. Her 1600m time of 4:57.23 ranks among the top-5 all-time by a Montgomery County athlete and her 800m time of 2:14.35 ranks among the top-10.