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Tuesday Chavez, Troy Clark honored as November Student-Athletes of the Month

December 13, 2019

By: Natalie Van Dyke and Mack Drake/GCU Staff

Tuesday Chavez: GCU Women’s Ice Hockey

“She’s the definition of a clutch player,” says Lopes’ Assistant Coach KC McGinley of Tuesday Chavez. “She’s an even better leader and advocate for the sport.”

Center for the GCU Women’s Ice Hockey team, Lopes’ team captain, standout student and coach to youth hockey players; Chavez is a force to be reckoned with in the GCU athletic community.

Chavez was a member of the Lopes’ inaugural Women’s Hockey team, and has spent the last three years of her hockey career pouring into the GCU Women’s Ice Hockey program. Chavez is a junior studying Sports Management with hopes of working in administration within the NHL.

Her love for the game is deeply rooted. Chavez began playing hockey at age 4 and hasn’t stopped impacting the game since. As most female hockey players do, she started out playing on a boys’ team but as the girls’ game grew, Chavez grew with it. She has continued to impact the girls’ game with her own play, as well as her mentorship as a youth hockey coach with the Arizona Kachinas. In fact, her Kachinas’ 12U team just won a championship at the Lady Ducks Fall Classic in California.

“Chavez embodies what we look for at GCU Women’s Ice Hockey – both on and off the ice,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Natalie Rossi. “She represents our culture by working hard, giving back to the community, and making her teammates feel welcome at all times.”

Passionate about growing the game, Chavez is even more passionate about serving others and benefiting the community. Chavez is a member of both of Rossi’s teams who won back-to-back American Collegiate Hockey Association Community Service Awards, serves with GCU’s Spiritual Life department with Canyon Kids and mentors many younger players within the Phoenix community.

“The most important qualities I hope to embody as a leader in the hockey community are caring for the people around me – whether that be teammates, coaches or the community,” said Chavez. “It means so much to me to be a part of growing youth hockey in Arizona and provide them with opportunities I never had. I owe a lot of that to the inspiration I get from Coach Rossi because if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

As many great things that Chavez has to say about the impact of her coach on her life and ability to give back to the game, Chavez’s coaches can’t say enough about the incredible presence that Chavez has everywhere she goes.

“Tuesday is always the person you can look to in the locker room and know she is giving 100%, looking to better the program and the people around her,” said Rossi. “We are beyond lucky to have her in our program, and she’s been a driving force in building our program and integral in building our culture. After she graduates, she will be one of those players that is always remembered, and that future players will continue to know about for years to come.”

“She’s more mature than most people I know and head and shoulders above where I was as a captain,” added McGinley, who played against Chavez as a rival at Arizona State’s program last year. “She’s selfless, holds people accountable, and can connect with anyone. I wish she could have been my mentor. Her teammates are lucky to have her.”

Inspiring others, making plays, and serving the community. Chavez embodies the things fans love about athletics, and is showing so many in the community the benefits of playing collegiate club sports.

“Coming to GCU and playing hockey here has been an amazing experience that I will never take for granted,” said Chavez. “It has helped shape me into the person I am today, and I am extremely thankful for that. For any young girl nervous about playing sports in college – whether it be club or NCAA – it is important that you take that leap because it can change everything.”

Troy Clark: Triathlon

Pushing the body and mind past their breaking point is something Troy Clark has become familiar with.

The Grand Canyon University Triathlon standout is a United States Marine Corps Reserve, who has become known and beloved around campus training grounds for going all out all the time.

Clark’s perseverance and drive are why GCU Triathlon Co-Head Coach Jake Windauer calls him arguably the best athlete he’s ever seen. They are also reasons why Clark is now an Ironman.

Clark swam, biked and ran his way to a third-place finish in the 21-year-old age group at the 2019 Arizona Ironman on Nov. 24 at Tempe Park Beach in Tempe. The circuit was a grueling test of mental and physical strength, featuring 2.6 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and a 26.2-mile marathon run to the finish line for good measure.

Clark, who finished in 10 hours and 57 minutes, is the GCU Club Sports November Male Athlete of the Month.

“I really wasn’t too nervous for it,” said Clark, reflecting on the competition. “I knew I had given it everything in my preparation, so I just trusted that. I knew I could do it. I knew I was ready.”

Clark beat his goal time of 11 hours by three minutes despite a blown tire on the bike ride that set him back a good five minutes. Knowing he needed to make up time, the 21-year-old junior drew on the strength gained from a grueling 20-week cycle of training that began on July 15.  

“I just tried to put it behind me and pick up the pace a bit,” Clark said of the blown tire. “The run was the toughest part, but I just tried to focus all the way through and really push it in the last few miles to the finish line.”

Clark has become known for his relentless work ethic in everything he does. Windauer has become awestruck watching Clark’s discipline in training.

“On top of our two-hour cardio sessions, he was still lifting weights at 5:30 every morning, regardless of what session of triathlon we had planned,” Windauer said. “His dedication and drive is unparalleled on our team or on any team I have raced on before, even at the International level.”

Clark is working on his degree in Christian Studies and hopes to become a firefighter one day. He joined the GCU Triathlon team in the fall of 2018, and completed six races before Co-Coach Nick Windauer suggested pushing the limits by competing in an Ironman.

“I think it stems from my belief that God has given me a lot of mental and physical gifts that not many others have,” Clark said of his work ethic. “I just want to make the most of those gifts and glorify Him.”

He joined the Marine Corps Reserves as a freshman, attending a rigorous boot camp. He is stationed in the Bulk Fuel Company C, 6th Support Battalion out of Luke Air Force Base in Maricopa County. He drills with the Marine Corps Reserves once a month.