Softball has played a major role in senior JC Clayton’s life. Not only has she surpassed milestones in BYU softball history, but she has also influenced the lives of many teammates.
BYU head coach Gordon Eakin recruited Clayton to play for the Cougars after she had played all four years and lettering in both softball and soccer at San Benito High School. She didn’t come on timidly either, winning BYU softball’s Offensive Player of the Year and Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year right away.
“Her entire career here at BYU stands out to me,” Eakin said about Clayton. “It’s exceptional.”
Clayton knew she wanted to play for BYU after her recruiting visit before freshman year.
“I was recruited by Eakin and just instantly liked it,” Clayton said. “I enjoyed the facilities. … The facilities are fabulous. I loved the mounds and the environment.”
Not only is she teammates with some great girls, but roommates and good friends as well. Clayton has enjoyed living with fellow softball teammates throughout her college career. Katie Manuma, Bailie Hicken and Hannah Howell are some of her best friends and current roommates. They expressed that one aspect of Clayton’s personality is her sense of humor, which can be seen on and off the field.
“I’ve known her since I did my recruiting trip my senior year,” Manuma said of Clayton. “We have been roommates since my freshman year. I actually didn’t want to live in her apartment, but it was the only one left, so I had to live with her. JC still gets on me and gives me a hard time about that.”
The hard work Clayton puts in shows in her accomplishments. This year, she was named to the Top 50 Watch List for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. As for hitting BYU milestones, Clayton broke the all-time hit record, set the single-game record for stolen bases and set the all-time stolen base record, having 47 on her career.
The girls have felt Clayton’s love and support throughout their careers as well.
“She is kind of like an older sister figure for me and all of the other girls on the team, but she’ll also get on you for things and try to make you better,” Manuma said. “Especially with the new freshman girls that join the team every year; JC really takes them under her wing and is like a mom or sister figure for everyone.”
Clayton is known amongst her friends and teammates for making people better. She is a leader on and off the field.
“She was the cornerstone of our team both offensively and defensively,” Eakin said. “She has great softball instincts, and because she knows the game so well she has great leadership skills and tries to teach.”
Since day one at BYU, Clayton has been a laid-back friend but also a fierce competitor. Her leadership skills have flourished over the past four years and will continue to benefit the Cougar’s softball team next year. Clayton plans on being a fifth-year coach at BYU for the softball team before graduating with a degree in recreation management.
BYU softbal has reaped the benefits of having Clayton the past four years. Her outstanding athletic ability has brought positive attention and recognition to BYU. The Cougars look forward to having her stick around for one more year.