Student Coaches Allied Sports Teams

by Danielle Katz ‘18

Many MCPS students enjoy being a part of sports teams, whether they play or manage. However, Junior Jett Clarke took his managing role to the next level, serving as Sherwood’s first ever student head coach.

After participating in handball freshman year, Clarke decided to join the basketball team, which resulted in his ineligibility to play handball because students can not play two sports in the same season. This rule led him to try team managing other sports in order to both play basketball and be involved in allied sports.

Clarke recently ended his season coaching handball, after previously aiding in coaching allied softball and helping to manage the bocce team. During handball season, Clarke ran practices, coached the team, made substitutions, and wrote up game plans. His coaching varies in specific responsibilities, as being a part of allied sports brings different challenges and rewards than managing a standard team. Every team coached by Clarke has won their way to a spot in the state semi-finals, with allied softball winning the state championship.

“You can’t be too hard on the kids,” said Clarke. “I don’t know their backgrounds, so I am gentle and encouraging. I make sure they are included and have fun.”

These experiences also help Clarke grow as an individual and develop important life skills, like empathy and good leadership, that he would otherwise not have a medium to build.

“It’s helped me be a lot more patient and have a positive attitude,” said Clarke. “As frustrated as I may want to get sometimes, I can’t. I have to stay level-headed, so that the players can all stay level-headed. It has definitely developed my patience and responsibility a ton.”

Clarke’s efforts in the allied sports community have recently received recognition by both Sherwood and MCPS.

Beyond the countless shoutouts and awards at many sports banquets, MCPS Sports Insight interviewed him about his experiences in leading the allied teams as well as for general excellence in team managing. His achievements are in line to receive the Sherwood Student Managing scholarship at the end of his senior year.