CHARLOTTESVILLE — In the Indiana track and field world, the name Clayton Brumfield may not sound all that familiar. However, after a full winter season of workouts following a terrific senior football campaign — and a chip on his shoulder from last year — Brumfield is on the fast track to making his name one opponents will soon remember.
Who is that kid from Eastern Hancock with the smooth, steady pace and shaggy hair, wrapped in a white headband?
His name is Clayton Brumfield, and he is on a mission.
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An all-state defensive back on the football field, Brumfield earned four blue ribbons March 17 in the Royals’ outdoor track and field opener against rival Knightstown.
In gusts of wind reaching close to 15 mph, Brumfield cruised to first-place finishes in the 1,600- and 800-meter runs, posting times that, given the conditions, were impressive for the first outdoor meet of the season.
He finished with a 5:02 in the 1,600 and a 2:12 in the 800.
After the meet, Eastern Hancock boys track coach Clayton Shultz, although happy with the results, noted one problem.
“I just need to figure out where to put Clayton,” Shultz said, questioning the best lineup that would allow the Royals to win.
Shultz knows what he has in Brumfield — a game changer — an athlete capable of making a significant impact in any meet. His split in the 1,600-meter relay would have won the open 400 March 17, as well. He also helped the Royals take first in the 3,200-meter relay, giving the team one more edge in a 66-57 win.
In a distance world dominated by familiar names, “Brumfield” should be sounding more and more familiar.
“He’s pretty good, too,” Shultz said.
Although those times were “OK” for the conditions, Brumfield has actually gone faster this year.
A month ago, at the Indiana Runners Distance Showcase at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Brumfield ran a 4:35 in the 1,600.
“I know where I’m at right now,” said a confident Brumfield, who also ran a 2:05 in the 800 during the indoor season.
Colleges are beginning to notice, too, as the senior has already heard from the University of Indianapolis and Franklin College.
“Track is something I definitely want to do at the next level,” Brumfield said.
Last season, as a junior, Brumfield finished in sixth in the 1,600 at the Mt. Vernon Sectional in 4:38.03 — 15 seconds away from third place and a regional berth. Mt. Vernon’s Aaron Rush finished second in 4:21.64 while Ethan Hoeft of Lawrence North, who graduated last year, won the event in 4:18.58.
Both Rush and Marauders senior Christian Noble return, giving Brumfield a measuring stick as the season progresses — although Noble will likely stick to the 3,200-meter run once postseason races begin, like last season. Parker Jones, a sophomore last year at Pendleton Heights, grabbed the final qualifying spot with a run of 4:23.96 and will also be battling for a top three spot this season.
At the very least, Brumfield is aware of what competition is waiting for him at season’s end. A time of 4:25 or below is assumed to be safe, though, compared to prior years.
In Brumfield’s mind, he is more than capable.
“I really would like to make it out of the sectional. It’s going to take coming to practice every day and giving it all I can – not taking days off,” he said.
Playing football, Brumfield added, could be one advantage he has over the rest of the field. The agility training with football, mixed with a full winter of track specific workouts, has Brumfield already ahead of the schedule.
“If you only do one sport, I don’t think it really helps with your overall strength,” Brumfield said.
And although currently on spring break in Florida, Brumfield, an only child, is questioned daily by his two disciplined parents, asking if he’s found time to train. He has, of course.
“It’s definitely a change of scenery from the cornfields (around Eastern Hancock),” Brumfield said.
But how fast Brumfield goes on the track this season? Only time will tell.
Eastern Hancock, senior
Sports: Track and field and football
Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts
Favorite athlete: Andrew Luck
Favorite food: Steak
Spring break destination: Florida
Fun fact: All-State defensive back in football