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Sterling senior Clodfelter serving up multiple talents

Meghan Clodfelter is known to some people as "Fiona," the princess from Shrek she once portrayed in community theater.

She's known to others as "Kala," Tarzan's ape mother she played in a Sterling High School musical this past spring.

Come next spring, she'd like to add another title, "Hereford Hog Queen," to her resume.

On a recent steamy afternoon at Kilgore Park, however, the title she coveted was "regular in the Sterling Golden Warrior girls tennis lineup."

Clodfelter learned the game as a freshman, played fresh-soph doubles as a sophomore, and competed at the JV level as a junior. In this, her last season, she's hoping to crack the varsity lineup.

"I certainly have been working very hard to get up to where I can be playing," Clodfelter said.

Sterling coach Kelly Reynolds noted Clodfelter is right in the mix in what figures to be a balanced lineup.

"She started playing her freshman year," Reynolds said, "and the strides she's made in 4 years have been unbelievable. She works as hard at tennis as she does in everything else in her life. She's right there. We've got 10 or 12 players that could easily squeak into that top eight, and she's one of them, for sure."

Tennis, however, is hardly what defines the bubbly Clodfelter.

She's a top student at Sterling, ranked ninth in her senior class. She's co-president of the National Honor Society. She's in the Key Club, of which she served as secretary as a junior. She's a past president and vice-president of 4H.

Clodfelter is also heavily involved in the arts, and says the theater is where all her best friends come from. Two summers ago, she played Fiona in a Sterling Community Theater production of Shrek – a high school sophomore at the time working with adults, college students and other high schoolers.

"Every time Kelly [Reynolds] sees me, she calls me Fiona," Clodfelter said. "I don't think I'm ever going to live that down, but I don't really mind that."

In the SHS production of Tarzan, she played one of the leads, Kala, an experience she described as an "insane amount of fun."

"The costumes and makeup were very crazy for that production," Clodfelter said, "because we were all apes, in an ape tribe."

Her tentative plan for college is to attend Illinois and major in landscape architecture. Her career goal is to be an imagineer, working for the Walt Disney Company and designing theme parks.

"Oh my God, can you imagine that," Clodfelter said. "That would be so much fun."

Clodfelter's roots, however, are at the family farmette, located between Sterling and Milledgeville. They live on 14 acres, most of which they use to grow hay, to feed 12 show pigs and two show cattle currently on the property.

Clodfelter and her brother, Mitchell, a Sterling freshman, each showed six animals at four different fairs this summer. In 2011, they earned grand and reserve champion honors in the Poland China Barrow Division at the Illinois State Fair. The animals they show average about 280 pounds.

"With hog showing, they're looking for basically definition in their body," Clodfelter said. "They like to see heavy muscle, with a fair amount of fat coverage. That's what the stereotypical good hog looks like."

At the Illinois State Fair held earlier this month, Clodfelter submitted an application and essay expressing her desire to be the Hereford Hog Queen. She'll find out next spring if she's been selected.

The queen title includes a tiara and sash, but her main job will be to hand out ribbons at the state fair, travel to county fairs, meet people, and talk about hogs.

"I think that would be a wonderful thing to do," Clodfelter said, "because I always like telling people about how it is on the agricultural side of things. Not many people know about that."

When the hog-showing competition is done, Clodfelter noted the family may keep a few gilts, if they think they will make good mothers, but most of the animals will be shipped off to market. It's something she copes with.

"It is kind of tough," Clodfelter said. "They become puppy dogs to us. They have such exuberant personalities that you just grow attached to them. As a farm kid, you just learn that's how things work. You do get attached to them, but you do know that's what has to happen."

Clodfelter file

School: Sterling

Class: Senior

Family: Parents, Randy and Pamela; brother, Mitchell

FYI: 4-year tennis player at Sterling. ... President of National Honor Society and ranked 9th in senior class. ... Involved in various theatrical productions. ... Shows hogs in the summer

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