Clare Severe finds success as two-sport athlete


Lehigh Mountain Hawk senior midfielder Clare Severe poses on Thursday, April 4, 2019, at Ulrich Sports Complex. This is Severe’s last season as a dual sport athlete, playing soccer and running for the Women’s Track and Field team. (Adele Hancock/B&W Staff)

Excelling at Division I track and field is challenging in and of itself. The ability to display greatness in a second sport, however, is unconventional.

A senior on the Lehigh women’s track and field team as well as on the women’s soccer team, Clare Severe has made an impact as a Mountain Hawk. She started in all 20 games during her final campaign on the soccer team and ran the mile leg on the Patriot League Champion distance medley relay team this past indoor season.

Severe said she has been playing sports for as long as she can remember.

Raised in Bethesda, Maryland, Severe began her athletic career at 3 or 4 years old. She ultimately found a passion for running and playing soccer, which eventually aided her in finding a roster spot on the Bethesda Soccer Club while also running track for Walt Whitman High School.

Severe said her coaches, teammates and family members have established a necessary support system for her as she juggles the responsibilities of two competitive sports.

“Being a two-sport athlete is a lot of fun, but it’s definitely tough,” Severe said. “It’s a unique challenge. It’s only possible because my coaches work well together and they are so supportive of it. It comes down to a lot of time management and realizing when your body really needs a break.”

Severe holds four school records at Lehigh, including the indoor mile (4:45.41), outdoor 1500m (4:28.32), indoor 4x800m (2:09.90) and outdoor distance medley relay (2:51.63). Severe’s most recent record-setting performance came last weekend at the Raleigh Relays, earning her Patriot League Track Athlete of the Week honors for the week of April 1. 

Freshman midfielder Becca Van Siclen said Severe’s accomplishments are an inspiration to her.

“She’s definitely the hardest working teammate I have had here at Lehigh and probably throughout my whole soccer career,” Van Siclen said. “She’s an amazing role model and seeing someone that has as much dedication to sports as she does makes it a lot easier for me to work hard on the field.”

Severe’s accomplishments extend beyond her presence on the field and her agility on the track. She is a leader to her teammates in both sports. 

“Clare is definitely a leader by example,” said freshman distance runner Martina Sell. “She always does everything right at practice and she is a really good person to follow. She shows up to practice ready to go every day no matter what she has going on with really positive energy, and that is just a great thing to bring to the team.”

Severe said her last seasons as a Mountain Hawk have been bittersweet and that her busy schedule has prevented her from taking the time to process how much she is going to miss her teams.

Looking back, Severe said her favorite memory at Lehigh happened this past fall when the soccer team secured a 2-1 win against longtime rival Bucknell with two seconds left in double overtime of the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Championships to make it to the semifinals.

Severe will pursue her masters degree in Biological Engineering at Northwestern University upon her graduation from Lehigh in May.

As she finishes her final track and field season at Lehigh, it is clear that Severe’s teammates and coaches will cherish her athletic ability and look to carry her positive presence and attitude forward.

“She’s an inspiration,” Van Siclen said. “She has grit and hunger towards everything she wants to get done. She is so fun on and off the field, and we will miss her so much next year.”

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