Strength training helped Clarion’s Jordan excel in three sports for the Bobcats :: exploreClarion.com

CLARION, PA (EYT/D9) – Like everyone else on March 13, 2020 – Friday the 13th – Jordan Best was caught off guard.

The high school spring sports season was put on hiatus and ultimately scuttled. As a sophomore on the Clarion Area softball team with huge aspirations, Best felt the sting of that lost season deeply.

She always does.

“That’s definitely going to stay with me,” Best said. “It’s super frustrating just knowing the great things the team would have accomplished. Just to know that in one day the season was completely canceled.

It’s a softball year that Best will never return to. Although the recent Clarion grad played the next two seasons at a high level with the Bobcats and moved on to the Gannon University softball team, what could have been is still on her mind.

One good thing came out of the shutdown for Best, though. Looking for ways to fill the time and ease his deep disappointment, Best began lifting weights with purpose.

She got her start watching videos of Clarion native Eain Brooks on Facebook. Brooks then began training Best, first at his garage and then at his gymnasium, Forell-Barbell in Shippensburg.

“It’s definitely something I’m grateful to have gotten myself into,” Best said. “I just started during the COVID shutdown and loved it. It certainly helped. I noticed a difference in my athletic performance. It’s nice to go to college with lifting experience, so when I’m given workouts, I know what I’m going to do.

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Best came out of the missing softball year in the spring of 2021 and had a monster campaign, batting .432, blasting eight home runs, driving 35 and scoring 37 runs for Clarion.

In her final softball season, Best didn’t put up quite the same numbers, but she was still a dangerous hitter at the plate and a leader and star behind as a catcher for a Bobcat team that struggled. considerable ups and downs.

Highest hit .333 with three home runs, 19 RBIs and 19 runs scored.


(Photo by Theresa Forrest)

Clarion struggled at times during a 9-8 season. Inexplicably, the roster failed to produce runs consistently down the home stretch and the season ended with a 16-1 loss to Forest in the first round of the District 9 Class A playoffs.

It was a tough pill for Best to swallow, leaving the high school softball field for the last time while suffering such a loss.

She had to think about all the best times she had had with the team and not dwell on a humiliating moment.

“I didn’t want my season to end, and I certainly didn’t want it to end on this note,” Best said. “I can’t just watch this tough game because Clarion softball has given me so many good things. I’m just focusing on all the great things we’ve done and been through. I am happy for all the good memories.

Best had a chance in the fall to end a sport in the best way possible.

For two seasons, Best was a standout libero for the Clarion volleyball team, which won back-to-back PIAA Class A championships while going 45-0. The Bobcats have only dropped two sets in those two seasons.

Her last volleyball game ended with cheers and with her holding the state championship trophy.

Even Best struggles to understand what she and her volleyball teammates have accomplished in back-to-back historic campaigns.

“You have to sit down and realize, wow, this is crazy,” Best said. “It’s so amazing that we won back to back, and I don’t think it will ever happen. It’s still crazy.”

Like softball, Best’s final season on the Clarion basketball team was a roller coaster ride. The Bobcats raced down the stretch to qualify for the District 9 playoffs, but the race was eventually over.

Best missed a few games with an ankle injury but continued to lead the team as a point guard.

Best was a star in high school in all three sports, but she never considered playing anything other than softball at the next level.

“I never wanted to stop playing them, but when you get to college it’s a lot, even with just one sport,” Best said. “I knew I had to limit myself and softball has always been my sport. My heart has always been set on softball.

“When I started playing travel ball, a few years when I was 11 or 12, I started to really find success and I was still watching college softball,” Best added. “I knew I didn’t want softball to end at the end of my senior year of high school, so it was always a dream of mine.”

Weightlifting has helped her in each of her sports.

It also led her to make a career choice.

Best will study Applied Exercise Science at Gannon. She hopes to become a physiotherapist or chiropractor.

“When I started doing fitness and working out, I knew it would be something I would love to do for a career,” she said.

Best admits she’s still learning the ins and outs of bodybuilding — what to do and what not to do; what helps and what doesn’t.

“Not knowing was the biggest challenge, like planning workouts,” Best said. “I’m always trying to figure out what the best things to do are. It certainly takes time and patience. You’re not going to suddenly become super strong after lifting for a day.

These days, Best balances her own training schedule with the one she received from Gannon. She also still plays a travel ball season with Pittsburgh Power.

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“I wanted to keep up with things. I always train in the gym and I have my workouts and the workouts that my trainer (in Gannon) gave me. I’m just preparing for college life and keeping in touch with my coaches.

Best also received another honor.

She was named Co-Student Athlete of the Year by Clarion Rehabilitation Services and CHAMP (Clarion Hospital Sports Medicine Program) this week.

Best shared the award with Keystone’s Bret Wingard.

“I had their Athlete of the Month, and they told me I was up for Athlete of the Year and it kind of slipped my mind,” Best said. “Then they told me I got it and I was shocked. It means so much.

Best said it meant more to her because the award also recognized her academic achievement.

“It’s something I work really hard on,” Best said. “I’m really proud of myself for my studies. It’s nice to be recognized for that too.

Best is also grateful for the support of her family.

His father, Matt, was by his side throughout his softball journey which began when he was young.

“He had the biggest impact on me,” Best said. “We go on the pitch all the time and he helps me a lot. Both my parents are definitely my biggest supporters.

His mother, Melanie, and sisters, Carly and Kelsey, were mainstays on the bleachers throughout the school year, no matter what sport Jordan was playing at the time.

“I always like to look in the stands and see my family,” Best said. “It relieves me that they are here and I have all the love and support they are giving me. I make sure to tell them how grateful I am to them.

Jordan Best is the middle child – Carly is the oldest at 20 and is already in an occupational therapy doctoral program at Slippery Rock University, and Kelsey, 14, will be a freshman at Clarion in the fall .

Best appreciated this dynamic.

“I really like it because my older sister was someone I really look up to and helped me out,” Best said. “She taught me what to do when my little sister started looking up to me. It’s really nice to have them both, one older and one younger.

Kelsey Best is also an athlete. She’ll be playing volleyball this fall, basketball in the winter, and looking into athletics in the spring.

Like Jordan, Kelsey is a volleyball libero.

“I love playing volleyball with her now because she’s at the age where she can actually play now,” Jordan said. “We run some good rallies and it’s fun to hear him talk about all the drills they do in practice that I remember doing myself. She’s going to start in first grade so it’s going to be cool to watch her.

Best thinks Kelsey could possibly eclipse what she did during her high school career, particularly in volleyball, where she says her younger sister is ahead of what she was as an incoming rookie.

“I hope she has more accomplishments than me,” Jordan said. “I wish him absolutely nothing but the best.”

Clarion Area High School sports coverage on Explore and D9Sports.com is brought to you by Redbank Chevrolet and DuBrook.
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