July 22, 2011
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By Pat Salvas
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Considered by many to be the No. 1 jumps recruit in the country and one of the top overall recruits in the world coming out of high school, Jen Clayton will join the UCF track & field team in 2011-12 after transferring from LSU. The Nyack, N.Y., native spent last season with the Lady Tigers, claiming the SEC Indoor Championship in the long jump this past February.
In winning the conference individual title in the event, Clayton jumped 20-3.50/6.18m in the finals to earn 10 points for her team en route to a third-place finish. For her efforts, she was named a member of the All-SEC First Team and SEC All-Freshman Team in the event.
"We're really excited to have Jen joining our family this season," head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert said. "She is one of the top jumpers in all the country and will be joining what I believe is an already very talented collection of jumpers and athletes here at UCF. I expect her to contribute right away and am looking forward to having her as a member of this program."
A 2010 graduate of Suffern High School in New York, Clayton finished her junior season (2009) as the top-rated long jumper in the nation, regardless of class. That same year she earned a spot on Team USA after winning the long jump title at the 2009 USA Track & Field World Youth Championships Trials in Ypsilanti, Mich., and would go on to represent her country at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Italy.
In the preliminary round of the long jump competition in Italy, Clayton set a new personal-best mark of 20-10.75/6.37m. That distance ranks 16th all-time by a high school athlete in the United States and tied the New York state record in the event.
A four-sport athlete in high school, Clayton plans on majoring in health sciences at UCF.