LM WCLA Division I Preseason Player of the Year: Clayton Crum
Crum, Longhorns Ready for Spotlight
by J. Jude Hazard | LaxMagazine.com
|Clayton Crum scored nearly 100
goals for Texas as a junior and returns to lead the Longhorns for
the third time as a team captain.
© Dirk Dewachter
When University of Texas senior Clayton Crum walks to class, sometimes she looks up and sees the university's Main Building Tower bathed in orange light. The tower is illuminated orange for Big 12 athletic championships and other notable university events, an honor that also would be bestowed on any club team that won a national championship at Texas.
A WCLA Division I national championship run is in sight for the Longhorns club program that finished 10th at nationals last year. A versatile midfielder, Crum scored nearly 100 goals for Texas as a junior last year and enters 2012 as Lacrosse Magazine's WCLA Division I Preseason Player of Year.
"Every time we see the tower lit we'll send out an email to our team and say, 'Hey, this is what we're working for,'" Crum said. "It's really cool to have that reminder passing the tower every day going to class."
Crum joined the Longhorns as a freshman and has served as a team captain since her sophomore season. She was named second team All-American as a sophomore and first team All-American as a junior. She was also the Texas Women's Lacrosse League Player of the Year in 2011.
Off the field, Crum is a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority and
expects to graduate in May 2012 with a double major in marketing
and business. She has been an assistant coach for an Austin-area
high school girls' lacrosse team for the last two years.
The Longhorns finished 11-3-1 last year, the best season in team history. It was a big step up from the previous year, Crum said, when as few as eight women regularly attended practices.
"This year, I think we're going to have to shoot for the national championship, because if we don't shoot high it's not going to get us anywhere," said Crum, adding that at least 45 players consistently came to practice in the fall. "We all really believe that this could be the year."
Texas will practice and play its home games at the newly-dedicated Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field following a multimillion-dollar renovation project. Crum served on the committee that helped design and plan the renovations.
"It was really nice to see the planning come to fruition," she said. "With this new NCAA-caliber field, we're hoping that we as a club program can show the university that we have the ability to become an NCAA Division I program soon. We're hoping that UT will keep its eye on us."
The $4 million renovation project was made possible through $3 million in private donations and $1 million from the university' recreational sports department. The field was renamed and dedicated in November and includes a new synthetic turf with permanent lacrosse markings, a refurbished track, new exercise stations and a pedestrian bridge across a creek linking the field with the recreational sports center. The complex will be open for use by students at Texas when it isn't being used by the men's and women's lacrosse programs.
The Texas women played an intra-squad scrimmage after the field's dedication ceremony. That's wouldn't have been possible during Crum's sophomore year, when the team practiced with just one goal and half a field.
"We've had so many people come out to practice and they've all been very excited about this season. I think we're up to the challenge," Crum said. "We need to continue to build this program and build this team and do what we can to win a national championship."
LaxMagazine.com WCLA Division I PPOY Fan Vote
Clayton Crum, Texas
Maggie Burke, Santa Clara
Brittini Peck, Florida
Hayley Bernstein, Colorado State
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