At the start of the season, Avery Clover ran impressively at The Woodlands' Friday Night Lights, establishing for herself the type of 2019 season she was going to have. It was also an exhibit to the rest of the state.
That was just the beginning, as she not only put the state of Texas on notice this season, but she also woke up the nation up as to who she is and what type of runner she has developed into.
Before this year, it wasn't a sure thing in some people's minds how good Clover actually was. Clover told TX MileSplit, "A lot of times people underestimate my abilities, but....." Then she paused with a look and a sigh as to say, what can I do about it.
Well, she did a lot about it. The Humble Atascocita runner has been entering in big races one after another and she has been handling them extremely well. "I trusted that my coaches put me in races for a reason, they give me opportunities to really compete."
Atascocita head coach Todd Symons has mapped out a season that arguably couldn't have gone much better for his star pupil. He took Clover to the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival where she ended up winning. Everything has been down hill from there.
Things have gone so well, that even Symons has been impressed with what she has been able to accomplish. "I'm very impressed, she has a great ability to run. I am just glad the rest of the US get to see her."
"She amazes me every day. She is always willing to get the work done and will continue to get better because she wants it more than anybody."
Todd Symons, Humble Atascocita Head Coach
Not only is she coming into her own as a runner, but Clover is a good person and an outstanding student. "She has showed a lot of strength in what she is doing. It is very hard to travel and miss class and still run great. But she has found a way to get it all done. She is not just a great runner, but a great student as well. She is 11th in her class with a 5.31 GPA, Most all AP classes."
A fourth place finish at McNeil Invite and a third at the UIL 6A state meet is enough to prove that you belong amongst the best runners, but Clover's post season run is the impressive feat. Clover qualified for NXN with a good run at the South Regional and then travelled out to North Carolina for the Foot Locker South Regional meet where she for tomorrow's National meet.
Symons sees Clover's biggest progression come in regards of her mentality as an athlete and not just the physical development. "Avery has grown a lot this year. She continues to progress in her training and Mental strength. She amazes me every day. She is always willing to get the work done and will continue to get better because she wants it more than anybody."
That mental strength will need to be dialed in upon as she will compete in her fifth high level 5K race in six weeks. Last week, she was 40th at NXN, which is a very good finishing position, especially in the the given conditions. But, traveling back home and then across the country again for the third consecutive week isn't an easy task for a young runner.
Like Clover said, she trusts her coaches put her in races for a reason and give her the changes to compete. "I believe this will prepare her for college," Symons said. The travel and to have a different routine will definitely prepare her for the next level. She is coping very well."
The season started off with a bang for Clover and she will end it better than many thought. It'll be at the highest level of our sport and she will likely never be underestimated again as a high school distance runner. "She will compete no matter where she runs," Symons said. "She can run hills, mud, flats, rain, or great weather. She just wants to compete and have fun. She truly loves to run!!!!! Foot Locker is only 40 girls, so it will be fun to watch. She will do great."