Tompkins High School, track and field, University of Nebraska, sports, Katy ISD, Clayton Keys

Tompkins' Keys picks Nebraska

By DENNIS SILVA II, Times Sports Editor
Posted 11/11/19

During his seventh grade year at WoodCreek Junior High, Clayton Keys’ first day of track and field practice consisted of him trying out every event.

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Tompkins High School, track and field, University of Nebraska, sports, Katy ISD, Clayton Keys

Tompkins' Keys picks Nebraska

Posted

During his seventh grade year at WoodCreek Junior High, Clayton Keys’ first day of track and field practice consisted of him trying out every event.

“I had never jumped before, but the coach told me all I had to do was run as fast as I could down the runaway, hit the white board and jump as far as I can,” said Keys, now a senior at Tompkins High. “That day, I realized that not only was I fast, but I could also jump much farther than the kids at my school.”

Three years later, Keys realized the long jump event could do “a lot more for me in the long run.”

“I received my first college track and field recruiting letter,” he said. “This only made me work harder and pursue my dreams of one day running in the Olympics.”

Keys, who competes in the long jump, 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, and 4x4 relay at Tompkins, is on the right track.

Just a handful of months after setting a school record in the long jump with a mark of 24-feet, 9-inches at the Region III track and field meet last spring that booked his trip to state, Keys pledged on Nov. 5 to continue his athletic career at Nebraska, where he will compete in the long jump, hurdles and relays.

Keys, who holds personal records of 24-9 in the long jump, 14.2 seconds in 110 hurdles, 36.8 seconds in 300 hurdles, and 47.4 seconds in 4x4, recently talked with The Katy Times about his college choice and expectations for the upcoming season.

Q: What was it about Nebraska that made it the right choice for you?

A: Nebraska had everything that I could ask for. Head coach Gary Pepin not only is one of the best coaches in the nation, but he has coached multiple Olympians and world champions. Coach Dusty Jonas, a Texas native, competed at the highest level and achieved what many people can’t. To top it all off, Nebraska has a degree in forensic science crime scene investigation, and that is exactly what I wanted to major in.

Q: What other schools did you seriously consider?

A: I went on official visits to Northern Arizona University, the University of Arkansas, the University of Iowa and Texas Christian University. All these schools have great coaches and great programs.

Q: How would you describe your recruiting process?

A: My journey to finding the right school was hard because of all the great coaches I got to meet and the schools learned about. After a lot of prayer, I asked God to give me guidance to find the right school. There was one school that stood out to me the most. At the University Of Nebraska, I felt at home the moment I stepped on campus.

Q: What did Nebraska coaches say they had in mind for you?

A: The coaches recruited me to not only long jump and hurdle, but also gave me the opportunity to run on relays. I wanted to find a school that allowed me to do multiple events, as I have done throughout my track career. They see me helping them winning conference and ultimately another national championship.

Q: After last season, what are you working on this offseason to be even better going into your senior season of track and field?

A: I’ve worked harder than ever before to achieve the goals I have set for this upcoming year. My ultimate goal this year is to be a multi-event state champion. The only way to get there is to put the work in now and see the results later.

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