Teamwork and enthusiasm are a way of life for Tori Clark, in the classroom and on the basketball court.
As a freshman at Roosevelt University, she joined the Lakers women’s basketball team for their inaugural season in the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) conference. Now a junior, Tori is a member of one of the most successful teams in Roosevelt Lakers history, currently ranked 8th in their division as they advance to the second round in the NAIA national tournament.
Tori is not only a talented athlete, who competed in basketball, volleyball and soccer as a student at Lake Park High School in Roselle, Ill., but she also distinguished herself as one of eight student athletes in the country to win a National High School Spirit of Sport Award last year from the National Federation of State High School Associations. Tori was nominated for that award by a conference rival team after she organized a fundraiser for one of their students.
“I read an article about a girl from Neuqua Valley High School [Naperville, Ill.] whose mom has MDS, a form of leukemia.” The family was experiencing financial difficulties and the student, a member of the NVHS volleyball team, had taken over a lot of her mother’s responsibilities at home. “I felt bad for her and her family, so I brought it up with my volleyball team that we had to do something to help. We were scheduled to play them at home, and I suggested we could have a fundraiser.”
Tori organized a group of girls from her high school to do the fundraiser, which consisted of selling T-shirts that were orange, the color that represents leukemia, imprinted with the slogan “We Support You.” In all, they sold more than 600 shirts to Lake Park High School students and collected more than $4,000.
The second part of the fundraiser is what Tori calls an “orange out,” in which Lake Park High School surprised the Neuqua Valley Girls’ Volleyball Team when they arrived to play their scheduled game. The Lake Park team members were wearing the orange T-shirts, as well as a majority of the student body who turned out for the game. LPHS presented the money to the player and her family and gave orange shirts to everyone on her team.
What’s especially remarkable is that Tori did not even know the Neuqua Valley student before this event. “I know her now, and I am keeping in touch with her. It was about teams helping teams. It was the right thing to do.”
Tori brings that same spirit with her to Roosevelt, where her coach, Robyn Scherr-Wells, observed, “She always has a good attitude and is the type of player and person that a coach loves to be around. Tori has been committed to our vision for our women’s basketball program from day one.”
“I love my teammates,” Tori said. “We get along so well, it’s amazing. We all know what’s going on with each other’s sports and when to show our support.”
Tori’s talent and dedication to sports stems from family tradition. Her dad, Randy Clark, was an offensive lineman who played for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Falcons in the 1980s, and she credits him as her inspiration. Since Tori and her siblings were in elementary school, he has encouraged them to participate in sports. And, fortunately, the proximity of Roosevelt University to the family’s home in the suburbs makes it easier for them to attend basketball games to cheer on Tori and her teammates.
Tori chose international business as her major. She would love to find a way to combine her knowledge of the business world with her passion for athletics by pursuing sports marketing or PR. “I’m good at pitching things.” That’s for sure. If her success in mobilizing her high school to participate in a fundraiser is any indication, Tori is off to a great start in that career.
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