Where it all started
Will Claye’s track days began when he was in the 3rd grade where he began running the 400 and the standing long jump at the yearly “field day” at Holliday Park Elementary School in Phoenix, Az. Will’s passion for track and field was sparked by his older brother James Smith who was an all star football and track star while in high school and later attended Cal Berkley. Will would watch his brother and try to be just like him from the way he walked to the way he started his approach in the long jump.
Will’s Rise to fame
The first day of track practice Will knew he was a good athlete, but his coach Larry Todd could sense a bright future for Will in track and field however, Will was only doing track to stay in shape for football.
This all changed when Will surprisingly won the Arizona state meet in the Triple jump as a Freshman. From then on Will began to take track more seriously and slowly his football dreams drifted out of the picture.
The biggest of Will’s accomplishments in High School was his Jr year at the state championships where he won the competition with a mark of 52’4 at the age of 16. Little did anyone know that would be the last of Will’s high school competition until he decided to forgo his last semester of his senior year and enroll at the University of Oklahoma January of 2009. Will arrived on campus and he was told he had a meet in 2 weeks.
“I didn’t know what to think about competing with collegians because they all seemed way bigger stronger and faster than me”
Will soon became one of Oklahoma’s star track athletes and at his first Ncaa indoor national championships he placed 2nd with a mark of 16.80m and later that outdoor season on his 18th birthday he won the triple jump at the 2009 outdoor NCAA national championships with a mark of 17.24m.
To put the icing on the cake of Will’s 2009 campaign will won the Gold medal at the 2009 pan American Jr games in Trinidad and tobago.
A minor set back
Will’s sophomore year on college he was now the man with the target on his back which made him work even harder, however Will’s work ethic led him to a serious back injury that hampered him the whole of the 2010 season.
“I would hear people saying what I did was a fluke and that I had fell off, and that really fueled me to get healthy and get back on top like I had never left”
Back like he never left
Will began to get healthy and was on his way to getting back on top, however he was now in a new uniform, competing for the Florida gators under Dick Booth.
Will’s first meet as a gator he uncorked the nations furthest jump and later winning the NCAA triple title with a jump of 17.32m which is the NCAA meet record.
Will Claye and his Teammate Christian Taylor battled throughout the whole 2011 season and they went 1-2 at the 2011 NCAA outdoor national championships with Christian jumping 17.80 and Will 17.62.
Will did not stop there. He was then selected to represent the united states at the 2011 track and field world championships in Daegu, Korea where he became the second person ever to make the finals on both the Long Jump and the Triple jump, as well as winning the Bronze medal in the Triple Jump.
Biography to be continued! Stay tuned!!!