Hawaii Grown Report

Brian Clay's personal-best time in the 110-meter high hurdles is 13.96 seconds.

Rising Star

At just 24, Bryan Clay is among
America'sbest in the decathlon

THE track-and-field world is watching Honolulu's Bryan Clay.

Clay's third-place finish in the heptathlon at a major indoor meet in Estonia last weekend verified his credentials as one of the leading contenders in this summer's Olympic Games decathlon. Clay, 24, is a 1998 Castle High graduate and former NAIA champion and All-American at Azusa Pacific University in California.

No Clay pigeon

Bryan Clay's personal bests and their decathlon scoring value

Event Mark Points
100 meters 0.43 992
Long Jump 25-7 1/2 1,012
Shot Put 46-5 1/4 738
High Jump 6-8 1/4 840
400 meters 47.85 916
110m high hurdles 13.96 980
Discus 166-10 888
Pole Vault 15-9 849
Javelin 220-4 855
1500 meters 4:38.93 687

(*If Clay had all his best marks in the same meet, he would be the third-highest scoring U.S. decathlete in history. )

He has finished second in the USA national decathlon championship the past two years, but injuries had stymied him in international competition and raised questions among Europeans about his real ability.

Until last weekend.

In his first heptathlon -- which is like a decathlon indoors without the javelin, discus and 400-meter run -- Clay scored 6,014 points -- the 64th highest total since records have been kept.

Clay was in second place to world decathlon champion Roman S'ebrle of the Czech Republic after five events. But Clay pole-vaulted almost a foot under his personal best of 15 feet, 9 inches and almost 2 feet under S'ebrle and Erki Nool of Estonia, who moved past Clay into second place.

"My pole vault was really bad -- I had cleared my PR (personal record) height warming up, but everything got weird when the event started. Maybe it was because I got only three hours sleep the night before," Clay said.

Despite his flame-out in the pole vault, Clay piled up enough points in other events to lift his confidence heading into the Olympic run-up.

He had the fastest time among the top contenders in the 60-meter dash and 60-meter high hurdles and the second-best high jump.

"My training is going really, really well," Clay said. "I'm ahead of schedule in almost all events compared to last year."

Clay signed autographs for young fans after an indoor track meet in Estonia last weekend.

Clay trains at Azusa Pacific, 30 miles east of Los Angeles, and lives near the campus where he earned his degree last May. He was married last month.

"Married life is great," he said. "It's awesome to come back from a meet so far away and get such a great reception from Sarah."

Clay and U.S. decathlon champion Tom Pappas are the only Americans who have been invited to the World Indoors Track and Field Championships heptathlon in Budapest, Hungary, March 6-7. En route he will compete "in an event or two" at the U.S. Indoor Championships in Boston, he said.

He said his goal in Budapest would be to score more than 6,200 points and win a medal. "Except for the vault, I would have been over 6,100 in Estonia," he said.

Clay also has room for improvement in the long jump. He had two fouls last weekend and jumped about 24-6, more than a foot shorter than his best.

"I had consistency issues on my approaches for the pole vault, long jump and high jump," he said. "We'll try to iron those out and see what the next three weeks of practice can add to my performance," Clay said.

"My workouts now are not too heavy," he added. "After the world indoors, I'll go back into a heavy load," he said.

His first -- and last -- pre-Olympic Trials decathlon this year will be in Goetzis, Austria, on May 28-29. The Olympic Trials are in Sacramento, Calif., on July 16-17. The big prize -- the Olympic Games decathlon -- is Aug. 23-24 in Athens.

The 2004 Games may not be Clay's only hurrah. He is younger and less-experienced than any of the other top decathloners in the world.

"His best days are ahead," decathlon historian C. Frank Zarnowski says. "He has an outside chance for a medal in 2004, but Bryan will be in his prime (age 28 1/2) for the 2008 Olympics (in Beijing)."

Clay says he's trying to iron out some consistency issues with his approach for the long jump, pole vault and high jump.


Female wrestlers perform
well at international duals

Local girls took over the top of the college women's wrestling rankings this weekend.

In the International Collegiate Duals in Forest Grove, Ore., Missouri Valley College freshman Debbi Sakai (Mililani '03) pinned No. 1-ranked Lauren Lindsay of Cumberland (Tenn.) in 1 minute, 31 seconds on Friday only to be pinned herself in 1 minute, 41 seconds yesterday by Pacific U. freshman Kapua Torres (Kahuku '03) in 112-pound matches.

Torres also defeated Lindsay, 12-5. Sakai also defeated Canada's No. 1, Sara White of Simon Fraser University.

Torres was ranked No. 2 and Sakai No. 3 by going into the weekend meet of North America's best women's teams.

Pacific junior Kristin Fujioka (Castle '01), ranked No. 3 at 105.5 pounds, won three matches during the duals, including a pin in 1 minute, 4 seconds and an 11-0 decision.

Travis Lee

Cornell junior Travis Lee (Saint Louis '01 of Liliha) told Hawaii Grown that he wanted to win an NCAA championship again this year, "but this time I want to dominate."

He continued along that path this weekend, winning his 29th and 30th matches of the season (against one loss) to help Cornell win its 25th Ivy League title.

On Friday, Lee scored six takedowns against his Harvard opponent before mercifully pinning him in the second round, and yesterday he pummeled his opponent from Brown by a score of 23-4. Lee is ranked No. 1 at 133 pounds by every wrestling poll.

Another Lee

2002 Moanalua High graduate Stephany Lee is not related to national champion Travis Lee, except perhaps by wrestling ability.

Lee, a freshman at Missouri Valley, has bounded into national consciousness the past two weekends.

Last weekend she finished second in the prestigious Dave Schultz Memorial Tournament at 158.5 pounds and this weekend she scored two pins and a technical fall at the International Collegiate Duals at Forest Grove, Ore.

Last weekend in Colorado Springs, Lee defeated Canada's No. 2 and USA's No. 3-ranked wrestlers. She pinned the Canadian wrestler, Ohenowa Akuffo, in 1 minute.

She lost in the final to German champion Anita Schaetzle, 7-6, after leading 5-3.

"It was my first big international meet, and I learned a lot that will help me in the future," Lee said. "Now I know what I have to work on.

"I am stepping it up a level to become a world-class athlete. I want to be able to wrestle the best I the world, not just the best in the U.S."


E-mail to Sports Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --