By Joe Williams, Sports Editor
Franklin's Johnathan Clausi rushes down the strip while competing in the long jump at the AAU National Junior Olympics in Michigan last week. Clausi took home two track and field medals.
At a time when young athletes are told they have to specialize in one sport to be successful, Johnathan Clausi is a positive anomaly.
The Franklin resident continued his run through sports seasons last week, competing in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) National Junior Olympics at Eastern Michigan State University, bringing home two medals.
“There was some really tough competition,” said the 14 year old during a homework break. “Usually there might be someone else better, but this was the most competition I’ve ever seen.”
Clausi scored a fourth place medal in the Triple Jump, covering 40-feet-plus as a part of the 36 best in the nation. In the Long Jump, “JC”, as he is known to friends, leapt more than 19 feet. That performance left him as the eighth best in the nation while competing against 93 others.
“It was very competitive, but it was great.”
But Clausi’s performance with the Precision Track Club was just part of the week, as he continued to work on his football playbook and jump shot.
The rising eighth-grader at Franklin Road Academy began shifting gears on Monday, preparing for a new season on the grid iron. Football will occupy his athletic side for the next ten weeks, rolling right into basketball season. In his spare time he’ll play soccer for the Panther soccer team before AAU travel basketball and track returns to the top of his list.
Given the different demands of each sport, he is sometimes questioned about why he doesn’t concentrate on just one athletic endeavor. He answers with no hesitation.
“The reason is I love to play what I love to play and I do it just for the love of doing it.”
Being in constant motion athletically, the youngster is equally adept in the classroom. His academic prowess has already drawn the attention of Vanderbilt, Wake Forrest and Duke University. He has been accepted as part of the Duke University Talent Identification Program, where part of the process was completing the ACT college entrance exam. A perfect score on the test is 36.
Clausi scored in the mid 20’s. In the seventh grade.
“My philosophy is school comes first. If I’m not done, then I don’t get to go to practice or I don’t get to play.”
With the pressure of academics and his year-round athletic schedule, one might suggest it is time to consider just one of the four sports in which he is a standout. That suggestion also gets a quick negative response.
“I’ve worked too hard to just quit.”
Posted on: 8/7/2013