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Lincoln County native shines on U.S. track team

Photo Submitted / Brookhavenite Dedrick Clark recently took home gold medals in the 400-meter, 60-meter and 200-meter at the Southwest Regional Indoor Championships.

Photo Submitted / Brookhavenite Dedrick Clark recently took home gold medals in the 400-meter, 60-meter and 200-meter at the Southwest Regional Indoor Championships.

“When you turn 30 everybody says you’re too old to do stuff,” Dedrick Clark said.  As he gets ready to compete in the world track and field competitions in France this August, the 36-year-old will be remembering those words and using them as motivation. 

Clark, a Brookhaven resident, is a member of the US Express Track Club, a registered competitive club and member of USA Track and Field. With the Baton Rouge-based US Express Track Club led by coach Byron Turner, Clark has advanced within his competing age range of 35 to 39 to the world competitions to be held in France carrying multiple wins under his belt.

During the Southwest Regional Indoor Championships on March 7, Clark took home gold in the 400-meter, 60-meter, 200-meter races and the shot-put competition. He received silver in both the high jump and long jump competitions regionally. Then in the national competitions that stretched across three days, March 20-22, Clark placed third in the 400-meter race ranking him third in the U.S. and seventh in the world. In addition to the wins, Clark gained the All-American title once for the 60-meter at regional and second for the 400-meter at national.

“I was looking for something to do after the Marine Corps,” Clark said about wanting to keep active after his nine years of service.

Clark said he had ran track since peewee and as part of USA Track and Field your age really doesn’t matter.

“The oldest competitor at my last competition was 97, so this is something you can do forever,” Clark said.

Clark works as head trainer for King’s Daughters Medical Center Performance Center and has been doing so for five years. He said as a certified coach he trains a lot of younger people and college athletes, and it helps motivate them to see him still going so strong at 36.

With both his work and extracurricular life revolving around fitness and athletic performance it’s no stretch to understand that Clark likes what he does. He said as part of the team he gets to meet different people and build different relationships which “is something you miss getting out of the military.”

Since joining the US Express Track Club six years ago, Clark said he’s had great support from family and friends, and he feels that it may not be a surprise to them that he is doing so well.

“It’s always been expected,” he said. “And I wouldn’t expect anything else from myself.”

He relayed a message that he always tells the student athletes he trains, “never settle for good. Go for great.”

Because he is a certified coach himself, Clark trains himself for competition and is proud of what he’s done for himself. However, he said he kind of downplays it because there is still work to be done.  When asked about how long he continues to be doing that work – participating and training athletically- he said, “pretty much until I get out of here.”

Clark said his failures are what keeps him going as well as realizing that younger people both in his life in Brookhaven and at the USA Track and Field competitions see him as inspiration to keep working toward their goals.

“I don’t want to be like the Average Joe or the coach talking about what he used to be,” Clark said.