Trevon Clay crossed the stage at Roy Wilkins Auditorium on the night of June 9 with his fellow graduates from Como’s class of 2016. The next morning Clay was back on the track at Hamline University, competing in the state track and field meet.
Clay was competing in three events at the state meet. The preliminary heats in both of the hurdling events were held early Friday morning. Clay, the defending state champion in the 110M hurdles, harnessed his energy and plowed through fatigue to qualify for the finals Saturday. He had a tough race an hour later in the 300M hurdles and did not qualify for the finals.
Saturday morning at 9 a.m., Clay was at the long jump pit for his preliminary jumps. He nailed his third jump at 9:40 a.m., posting 21 feet 9 inches, which qualified him for the finals at 10:25 a.m. Sandwiched in between was the final race for the 110M hurdles.
Clay rushed to check in, go through his warm-up routines and then get to the starting block. Out of the blocks, Clay’s lane was cluttered with the swinging arms of other runners and he endured multiple contacts. It was not a clean race, and while very frustrating, Clay powered through to finish in third with a time of 14:37, just a shade off the winning time of 14:06.
Clearly disappointed, Clay had to run back for the long jump finals. State medals are awarded to the top nine finishers of an event. To end his career, Clay earned an eighth-place medal in the long jump. Medaling in a field event at state was something Clay had never done before.
It concluded a phenomenal high school track and field career for Clay, who finished with four state medals: two in the 110M hurdles, one in the 300M hurdles as a junior, and the long jump.
Add the seven medals from Section 4AA (six firsts and one second), and the absolute dominance of his events in the St. Paul City Conference (12 city titles over his four years), and it’s easy to see how much Clay has contributed to the Cougars’ track and field program.
Clay was also an exceptional football player for the Cougars. In August, he’ll join a new football team at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, where he’ll study and also run track.
Eric Erickson is a social studies teacher at Como Park High School and a longtime coach of school and youth sports in St. Paul.