DANVILLE — Troya Collier planted the idea of being an NCAA Division I athlete in the mind of her son, Cirron Clark at an early age.
That idea took root and has blossomed into a reality.
This week, Clark signed an NCAA Division I Letter of Intent to attend Illinois State University in Normal on an athletic scholarship.
“My mom has always been telling me to strive to be the best and to be a Division I athlete,’’ said Clark, who was fourth in the pole vault at the 2012 IHSA Class 3A state track and field meet. “But, I don’t think I realized it was possible until I broke the freshman pole vault record at Danville.
“My coach (Steve Luke) told me that I had it in me, if I stuck to it.’’
Clark, who holds the Danville school record in the pole vault at 15-8, will be the second straight Vikings track athlete to go Division I in the past two years. Matt Cleveland is beginning his sophomore year at Vanderbilt.
“This is a very fitting reward for Cirron,’’ Luke said. “There are a lot of people in Danville that had a lot of faith in him, and he did everything that we’ve asked of him.
“This is a really good opportunity for him and I hope he takes advantage of it.’’
Clark, who was a two-sport athlete at Danville, said he chose the Redbirds for a couple of reasons.
“Well, Illinois State is really close to home and it’s important for me to stay near my family,’’ he said. “Illinois State also has a real good program and a real good coach (Elvis Forde).
“When I took my official visit to the school, I just really liked everything about the school and I really like the facilities.’’
Clark also pointed out that the Illinois State program for the pole vault is very similar to what he has done for the past four years at Danville High.
“That should really help me getting started at the collegiate level,’’ he said. “To be a Division I athlete, you can’t just be good.
“You have to be ready to step up to the competition at the next level.’’
And Clark believes that he is ready for that next stage in his athletic career.
“I’m ready to represent Danville, my parents, my family, my friends and my coaches,’’ he said.
Clark was moving from Danville to Normal this week.
by: Chad Dare