Given the suspension of athletics in the county, the Daily Journal decided to dive into our 20-year archives to bring readers some of our favorite stories over the years.
APRIL 10, 2009 — DonAndre’ Clark is the rarest of high school athletes. He plays two sports — in the same season.
The Serra High junior is an outfielder on the Padres baseball team and competes in the 100, 200, 4x100 relay and long jump for the track and field squad. In the fall, he plays football. And he excels in all three sports, too.
“At first I didn’t know it was possible to play two sports (in the same season),” said Clark, who is pulling off double duty for the second straight year. “But after the middle of my freshman year, they (Serra coaches) told me I could do it. So I tried it last year and I’m doing it again. It’s been going good.”
The toughest part about juggling two sports in the same season is picking and choosing where to be when there’s a game and meet going on at the same time. It’s happened only twice so far in 2009. There was a track meet going on in Palo Alto at the Stanford Invitational, and the baseball team was playing Mitty at home. Clark ran in the 4x100 relay, was done at 9:40 a.m. and had to be at Serra for an 11 a.m. game.
He made it in time with no problems, but obviously he wasn’t able to compete in all of his track and field events. If the 5-foot-9, 160-pound Clark has to choose one over the other, baseball takes precedence. Out of the three sports, baseball is his favorite. Whenever there’s a conflict, track and field coach Jim Marheineke, baseball skipper Pete Jensen and Clark will meet and map out a plan together.
It’s a testament to all three that Clark is able to utilize his versatile talents and be a major contributor to both teams. As rare as a case this is, Jensen has actually had two previous athletes pull off double duty in the same season.
“DonAndre’ is great at making his schedule,” Jensen said. “He spends more time in baseball, but he always gets his track time in afterwards. I think it’s neat we’re able to share athletes here at Serra and make things work.”
So what is Clark’s best sport? It’s hard to say. But the one constant is whether Clark is in pads, a jersey or tank-top, he’s a difference-maker. During the 2008 football season, Clark showed some big-time, play-making ability by hauling in 16 receptions for 502 yards — a ridiculous 31.4-yards per catch average — to go along with 10 touchdowns. He also carried the ball five times for 133 yards — that’s 26.6-yards per carry — and a score, and returned punts and kickoffs.
“I didn’t return any punts or kickoffs for touchdowns, so that kind of sucks,” said Clark, a Hayward resident. “But I’ll do that next year.”
In track, Clark has the section’s top time in the 200, at 22.14 seconds. He has the eighth-best mark in the 100 and Serra’s 4x100 relay team is ranked third in the CCS. For baseball, Clark plays all three outfield positions, and covers a ton of real estate defensively while wreaking havoc on the basepaths with his speed. Jensen and Serra football coach Patrick Walsh said Clark is one of the fastest athletes they’ve ever coached.
Clark may not have pure sprinter’s speed — the top 100-meter track runners are more explosive and powerful than he is — but no one utilizes quickness in multiple sports better than Clark. On the gridiron, Clark is a blur. On the baseball field his speed is noticeable because of his explosive acceleration around the basepaths. Clark has improved his 100 and 200 times significantly since last year, when he failed to make the CCS finals in both events. It’s been a motivating factor each time he steps onto the track.
“It reminds me of what I need to do in order to make it to the finals and hopefully state,” he said. “I realized last year I didn’t get off the blocks well in the 100, so I worked to improve that.”
While it’s been relative smooth sailing so far, Clark will have a much tougher time deciding on what to do a month from now, when the baseball playoffs and track and field league and section championship meets intertwine.
“I’ve thought about it, but it’s a lot to think about so I’m just going to wait until the time comes before I really start worrying about it,” Clark said.