Clayton Mendez is not a stranger to fast times. If you recall he was one of the premier young distance runners in middle school winning a city title. He would later as a freshman at Whitney Young clock 14:58 for three miles and qualify for state. Later in track he ran a sizzling 9:26 for 3200m- one of the fastest freshmen in the United States. Last year as a sophomore Mendez placed 13th in the state 3A meet rocking a 14:36 time. In addition, Mendez has shown some diversity when he led off his team's 4x800 relay in last spring's state championship... and most recently Mendez did something incredibly amazing when he blazed the competition at the Proviso West Invitational. He broke a decades old 3200m record with his US #2 9:01.89.
As great as Mendez has shown with his potential to be great, he has also demonstrated a streak of Mr. Hyde in that the worst has come out in him. After winning the mighty Prospect Wanner Invite 3200 two years ago, he failed to qualify for state. Mendez won the Detweiller at Dark race in July running a slick 15:09, but later crashed and burned through out the cross country season and eventually finished 79th overall. He was not even the best runner on his team when the season ended. Maybe overthinking and allowing some issues from within to fester has been the issue. Mendez took a moment after the recent Downers South Mustang Relays to talk about his renewed spirit in running.