When four-time Olympian Reid Priddy
, a gold medalist, and two-time Olympian Will Claye
, a silver and bronze medalist, hit the court and the track at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, they’ll be representing not only the United States, but the Pride of Mountain Pointe High School in Ahwatukee.
As they headed to Brazil to compete for Team USA, the two Mountain Pointe alums, who graduated nearly 13 years apart, snapped a photo together and shared their ties to their alma mater on twitter.
Priddy’s gold medal came as captain of the USA men’s volleyball team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Claye jumped his way to two medals at the 2012 Olympics in London. He won the silver in the triple jump and the bronze in the long jump, becoming the first man to medal in both jumps at the same Olympics since 1936. Claye won the triple jump at the U.S. Olympic Trials in July. He took third in the long jump but did not qualify for Rio.
Back at Mountain Pointe in 1994, Priddy participated in the first year of varsity volleyball in the State of Arizona and he helped the Pride win the first ever boys volleyball state championship in 1995.
Priddy graduated in 1996 and went to Loyola Marymount University where he become the first All-American in school history. After earning a degree in Communications in 2000, he played volleyball professionally in Turkey, Russia, Greece and Austria and served as an alternate for Team USA at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000. He competed in his first Olympics in 2004 in Athens, Greece and has competed in every Summer Olympics since then.
In an article for The Players’ Tribune
, Claye wrote, “Nobody wakes up one morning, leaps out of bed and yells, ‘Hey, Mom, I want to be a triple jumper!’ For that matter, no kid decides to triple jump on his own. Generally, the sport has to find you. I was a football player in high school and ran track just to keep my speed right — to increase my quickness. But one day at track practice, my coach, Larry Todd, had us all doing bounds — different jumping exercises designed to increase speed and explosion. He looked at me and said, ‘Will, you’re just a natural triple jumper.’”
So he gave it a try and discovered his coach was right. That same season Claye won the state triple jump championship. He became the first Arizona high school athlete to triple jump more than 50 feet and set the Arizona triple jump record. By senior year, he made the decision to graduate a semester ahead of his class of 2009 and a few months later, on
his 18th birthday, Claye set the national junior record in the triple jump and won the NCAA championship by leaping 56 feet, 4 inches as a freshman at the University of Oklahoma.
His sport has become a career and taken him to Florida and California and around the world, but he always comes back home to Mountain Pointe and Coach Todd. In fact, he trained with Todd at Mountain Pointe earlier this year to prepare for the Rio Olympics.
Coach Todd likes Claye’s chances. “He’s a gamer. When there is competition, he always tends to rise to the top. He’s been through adversity and the last year has been tough for him dealing with injuries, but he’ll definitely medal, it’s just a matter of which one. He’s so close to a gold medal you can taste it.”
Claye turned pro in 2011. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2012 with a degree in Entrepreneurship.
The young man, who was recognized in his high school yearbook for his fashion sense, created his own men’s clothing line in 2014 called Devenir. As for the future, according to his website, Claye “hopes to use his status as an Olympic medalist and celebrated track star to help influence urban youths to make better life decisions and help the less fortunate.”
Claye will be inducted into the Mountain Pointe Hall of Fame in September, 2016. Priddy was inducted in 2011.
Reid Priddy & Will Claye's Olympic Competition Schedule (All Arizona times):
2016 Olympic Triple Jump Schedule
Qualifications: Monday, Aug. 15, 5:30 a.m.
Final: Tuesday, Aug. 16, 5:50 a.m.
2016 Olympic Men’s Volleyball Competition
USA vs Canada Sunday, Aug. 7, 1:05 p.m.
USA vs. Italy Tuesday, Aug. 9, 11:00 a.m.
USA vs Brazil Thursday, Aug. 11, 6:35 p.m.
USA vs. France Saturday, Aug. 13, 1:05 p.m.
USA vs. Mexico Monday, Aug. 15, 7:35 a.m.
Quarterfinals: Wednesday, Aug. 17
Semifinals: Friday, Aug. 19
Finals: Sunday, Aug. 21