Claye USATF Athlete of the Week
May 19, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma freshman Will Claye has been named the USA Track and Field (USATF) Athlete of the Week following his performance Sunday night that saw the 17-year old break a 27-year U.S. Junior National record in the triple jump en route to claiming the Big 12 title in the event.
An early enrollee at OU in January, Claye received the honor on the same day he departs for Phoenix, Ariz., to participate in his high school graduation Thursday evening.
Claye snapped the record by five inches as he recorded a distance 55-7.00 (16.94) on his fifth attempt. Claye won the Big 12 crown with a longer jump of 55-9.75 (17.01), but the attempt was wind aided and not eligible for records. Claye’s wind legal jump surpassed the previous U.S. Junior National record of 55-2.00 (16.81) set by Greg Neal of the University of Tennessee in 1982.
The jump is the longest outdoor jump by an American on any age level this year and ranks 12th in the world on the senior level.
What makes the honor even more worthwhile is it comes following a weekend that saw a field of professional track and field athletes including a number of Olympic gold medalists competing at the Adidas Track Classic in Carson, Calif.
Claye’s jump can be seen as FSN will air a taping of the Big 12 Championships this Friday, May 22, at 11:30 a.m. CST.
Claye and several Oklahoma teammates are off this weekend but return to action May 29-30 as OU hosts the 2009 NCAA Midwest Regional at the John Jacobs Track and Field Complex.
Now in its eighth year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on the USATF website. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.