Mark Clarey of Rohnert Park was welcomed to Iowa State University August 26, 1972 at a barbecue hosted by Iowa State varsity head coach Jim Dyer.
Clarey has made first string on the freshman team and since reporting to the university he has put on ten pounds despite the rugged practices. He left weighing 214 and hopes to be up to 230 by the time he plays his first game against Northeastern Oct. 21.
Before graduating from Rancho Cotate in June, Clarey signed at Iowa State accepting a full athletic scolarship.
Clarey spent the summer months doing things to keep in shape before reporting to Iowa State. He loaded hay for Corona Feed, worked out with weights and did a lot of running.
Hard work paid off for Clarey as he and only one other player ran the 440 and 660 in passing time when the workouts began at Iowa State August 28.
In a telephone conversation with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Clarey, 8821 Poplar Ave., the athlete said, “The training is kinda rough. One of the guys I’m facing is 6’5” and weighs 285 but I know I can make it.”
Iowa State’s freshman coach has arranged to work out with weights with Clarey as he must prepare to keep his starting position as middle linebacker. One of his teammates who will be trying to out-do him is his cousin Curt Vondrak from Sioux City, Iowa who also received a scholarship to Iowa State, Vondrak and Clarey are roommates at the university.
In 1966 Clarey began his football career with the College View Pop Warner team. Playing defensive end and linebacker, he participated on the College View team its first winning year but failed to make the team the following year because of his size.
During his ninth grade at the Rohnert Park Junior High he played offensive end and linebacker and was captain of the football and basketball teams.
Although he played baseball during his early teens and was the only 13-year-old player on the Cotati LittLeague All-Star team, Clarey decided to participate in track rather than baseball when he entered Rancho Cotate High.
He held six track school records when he entered his senior year at the Ranch and at graduation he still was holder of four records, including the mile relay. A record established by Clarey for the 440 (54.0) in 1971 is intact and he reset records in the 120 high hurdles (15.8) and the low 180 lows (20.9) in 1972. He was named Outstanding Trackman in 1972.
He made the varsity football team all three years at the Ranch and as a linebacker averaged 15 tackles and assists per game.
During his junior year he was honorable mention to the NBL All-League team and in his senior year was honorable mention to the High School football Foundation Hall of Fame. Clarey was named as the Most Valuable Lineman during his senior year and was on the Sonoma County League All-League team.
One of the Ranch’s top wrestlers, Clarey was named outstanding at the Santa Rosa Wrestling Tournament during his senior year and also the Ranch’s outstanding wrestler. His record during 1971 was 22-20. He held a 3.4 grade average during his three years at the Ranch.
Clarey will be studying to become an attorney while at Iowa State and will make his first visit home during Christmas holidays.
Irene Hilsendager’s column each week touches on moments in the history of Cotati, Rohnert Park and Penngrove.