The Mad Runner Clayton Mendez Remains Calm For NXN


He watches almost everything. "You guys [at Milesplit] got it wrong man," Clayton Mendez said on October 28 about 45 minutes after winning the Lake Park Sectional. The senior from Chicago Whitney Young said in a dismissive tone when not picked among the elite runners in the state. It was only Mendez's third victory in a row. In fairness to those covering the cross country scene, he was struggling a bit against the better competition in the state. Plus, with all of the talk on Danny Kilrea and Dylan Jacobs there did not seem like there was anyone else in the race. But after taking the Lake Park crown over the favorite Tommy Brady of Maine South, the feeling that Mendez being a serious threat in the state championship gold medal chase was real. Indeed he was able to finish out a strong final mile and run 14:20 for the runner up spot. Still, the national pundits dismissed him going into NXN Regionals. All he did there was finish 5th and earn a spot to nationals. Once again no national ranking press. It wasn't until he finish 3rd in a rock strong Footlocker Midwest Regional that Mendez got his due. He is now ranked #6 in the FLO 50 Individual rankings chart. Mendez stated that he is ready to run the race of his life and finish inside of the top 10. Don't be surprised if you see a mad scow on his face enroute to his goals.

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