Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spartan Athlete Eyes States Prior to Harvard Career

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spartan Athlete Eyes States Prior to Harvard Career

Article excerpt

Byline: BILL JOHNSON

Like many high school track and field athletes, Eric Clayman competes in more than one event each meet. Yet not many compete as far across the track and field spectrum as he does.

At most meets, the 5-10, 165-pound St. Johns senior puts his upper body to work in the discus throw, an event in which he finished fourth in the state last year. Shortly after competing in the discus, he will line up on the starting line for a 100-meter dash or the 300 hurdles or four-by-400 relays. And it's not like he's just filling space for the Spartans in those other events. He had a fourth-place state finish in the 300 hurdles as well.

The really interesting fact about this Spartan is that none of those events are his best. His best event, the hammer throw, isn't even a sanctioned sport in Florida, though his top five national ranking in it is one of the reasons he will compete next year at Harvard University.

"That's what they really want him for at Harvard," said his father and coach, Loren Clayman, who also competed on the Crimson track and field squad. Eric will be his second son to attend the prestigious school. His oldest, Mark, is also an SJCD graduate who went on to Harvard. The 31-year-old still holds three Spartan track and field records. Eric's other brother, Scott, also attended St. Johns, but graduated from Nease, and currently competes on the University of Florida track and field team.

"All of them throw farther than I ever did," the elder Clayman admits.

At Thursday's District 4-A track and field competition, Eric was entered in four events, although he said after a close-encounter with the final hurdle in the 300 that he was close to running on empty and in need of some rest and nourishment before the 300 final and the relay.

Eric said he and all his brothers got a good start on athletics because of their father, but he said sports were never pushed on any of them.

Loren Clayman cringes when he thinks of the pressure some parents put on their kids to succeed at sports. …

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