There are almost 400 high schools in Arizona. So what are the odds that this year’s London Olympics featured two athletes from the same school – even though they graduated a dozen years apart?
Reid Priddy and Will Claye are both recent graduates of Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix. They were among a United States contingent that included 70 athletes and coaches with Arizona ties.
Claye, who graduated just four years ago, enjoyed the most success at the 2012 games. The 21-year-old who now lives and trains in San Diego captured the bronze medal in the long jump on Aug. 3, and then a week later added a silver medal in the triple jump.
He finished in second place in both events at the Olympic Trials, but the triple jump was considered to be Claye’s strongest event. At Mountain Pointe, he won two state titles in the event and went on to compete at the University of Oklahoma for his freshman year, then transferred on to Florida.
During his senior year at Mountain Pointe, he set the best prep mark in the country in the triple jump with a leap of 52’4.25″. A mark of 57’9.75″ earned him the Olympic silver, finishing behind USA teammate Christian Taylor, who hit 58’5.25″.
This was Claye’s first attempt on the Olympic stage, but Priddy was making his third trip. He was part of a men’s volleyball team that brought home the gold in 2008 at Beijing, but fell just short of a medal in London.
For awhile, Team USA looked like a good bet to medal again. The squad finished the preliminaries with a 14-4 record, the top mark in Group B – but lost in the finals to Italy, which claimed the bronze.
The American representatives actually had a better prelim-round record than either Brazil, which took home the silver, and Russian, the gold-medal winner.
Priddy graduated from Mountain Pointe in 1996 and went on to play at Loyola Marymount, where he was selected a first-team All-American as a senior. Now he lives in Southern California and plays on the pro circuit.
Among those with Arizona ties making the trip to London, James Harden probably enjoyed the lion’s share of publicity. The recent Arizona State grad played on the U.S. men’s basketball team that drew media attention across the country as they dominated the competition on the way to another gold medal.
Diana Taurasi, who plays for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, also picked up a gold medal with the undefeated women’s basketball team – her third.
Matt Grevers, a Tucson swimmer who has been training at UofA’s Hillenbrand Aquatic Center since 2008, came back to Arizona with the most medals hanging around his neck. After winning three, including two gold, at the 2008 Games, he pocketed three more in London. He set an Olympic record in the 100-meter backstroke to win gold in that event, and then added a gold as a member of the 4×100 individual medley relay and a silver in the 4×100 freestyle relay.
But Brigetta Barrett actually competes for the University of Arizona. The senior-to-be recorded the best-ever mark in the high jump by a college female, clearing a personal-best 6’8″. That broke the old record of 6’7″ – also set by Barrett at the Olympic Trials last month.
She is the first Arizona track & field athlete in the last 20 years to win an Olympic medal, and the first Wildcat to medal in the women’s high jump.
It appears that Will Claye may have plans already to begin sharing his good fortune with those back home. According to an article in the Ahwatukee Foothills News, he is planning to put on a clinic in January.
Yep, back at Mountain Pointe High School, where it all started.