Ashburn, VA (December 13, 2016) – Rock Ridge junior Lauryn Clarke has commit to play softball for Elon University beginning the 2018/2019 academic school year.
“I was so excited and relived to commit to Elon,” said Clarke. “I traveled up and down the east coast to find the perfect fit me. When I visited Elon, I knew I found my new home.”
Elon University is a private institution located in Elon, North Carolina, between Greensboro and the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill triangle. It was founded in 1889, has a total undergraduate enrollment of 5,782, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 620 acres. Elon University’s ranking in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 edition of Best Colleges Regional Universities (South) is #1.
Elon University earns recognition in all eight of the U.S. News & World Report’s lists of high-impact academic programs that lead to student success in college: first-year experience, internships/co-ops, senior capstone, undergraduate research/creative projects, learning communities, study abroad, service learning, and writing disciplines. With recognition in all eight of the U.S. News “Academic Programs to Look For” categories, Elon leads Stanford University and the University of Michigan, which are each listed in six categories; Duke University and Butler University, which are each listed in five categories; and Yale University, Carleton College and Wagner College, which are listed in four categories.
“The quality of the school and great communications program, not being too far from home so my family can come see me play, and the vision of the softball program all factored into my decision to commit to Elon,” said Clarke. “Everyone was overwhelmingly supportive, helpful, and full of fun energy. The campus is absolutely beautiful, and the icing on the cake was that their mascot is the Phoenix, which coincidentally is my mascot at Rock Ridge. That was an instant connection, and I’m so proud to get to be a Phoenix for another four years.”
“Per NCAA rules, because coaches couldn’t respond back to emails and voicemails prior to my junior year, my recruiting experience was somewhat challenging,” shared Clarke. “I would send out hundreds of emails and videos, and leave voicemails knowing that I probably wouldn’t hear back from many of them which was frustrating. It was also tough not being able to talk to them when I saw them at tournaments to find out how interested they may be in me playing for them.”
Elon first saw Clarke play with her travel team, the Virginia Glory Premier – Seidel at the June 2016 Team New Jersey Softball Showcase in Edison, NJ. Clarke then attended Elon’s summer camp in July, Elon then travelled to watch her play at a tournament in Williamsburg, VA, then later again that month at the Southern Force Travel Softball Showcase in Georgia, and was impressed enough to extended a verbal offer in August – which she accepted in September.
Clarke’s head softball coach will be Kathy Bocock. Coach Bocock completed her fifth season at the helm of the Elon University softball program in 2016. Bocock was promoted the head coach of the Elon softball program after serving as the interim head coach during the 2012 season. Prior to her time as the interim coach in 2011-12, Bocock had spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Phoenix. She came to Elon with 24 years of coaching and athletic administrative experience.
In 2016, Bocock led the Phoenix to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in her tenure as well as a return trip to the CAA Tournament. Elon also earned its second-ever victory over a top-10 opponent with the Phoenix knocking off No. 6 and CAA perennial power James Madison on April 30, 5-4, in 15 innings. The win gave JMU its first loss of the season during CAA play and its first since 2014. Bocock also had five athletes receive All-CAA accolades.
“Going into my first year, my expectations are to train really hard, with lots of lifting workouts and reps. I want to earn a starting position, be an impact player and be a part of a CAA championship softball team.”
Lauryn has played softball since the age of six years old. When asked about one of her fondest memories around the diamond, she replied, “Getting our first win in the first game of the season as a brand new high school during my freshman year! I also have fond memories of how all my friends and family came out to support me and watch me play.”
When asked whom she is most thankful for in supporting her along this path, Clarke shared, “First and foremost, my parents and my brother, who have sacrificed so much to support me in doing what I love. I am also thankful for the countless coaches who I have had the privilege of playing for and have supported me along the way. And I am truly thankful for my Virginia Glory travel softball family, and my travel coach and mentor Coach Maggie Seidel, and her husband Coach Jeremy who helped bring out the confidence and the strong mindedness in me that I did not even know I had.”
Asked what advice she’d give others pursing their dream, Lauryn shared, “Grind hard, be the best you can be, be confident, and don’t give up because all the hard work you put in will pay off.”
Please join us in wishing Lauryn Clarke the very best in her success on the softball diamond and in the classroom as she pursues a degree in sports broadcasting and sports marketing & management at Elon University.