By curtis pulliam
Terrell McClain is jumping to the next level, literally.
The East High School graduate signed a national letter-of-intent Thursday to join the University of Akron track and field team.
McClain looks to contribute next season in the long jump for the Zips.
“I am very excited,” said McClain, who was the Vindicator’s Spring Athlete of the Year for boys field. “I feel I can be successful at Akron.”
McClain, coming off a third- place finish at the state meet in the long jump, knows he will be in a different situation than high school.
“The biggest adjustment will be the environment,” McClain said. “I will have to be a lot more discipline and take care of myself more. There’s nobody telling me what to do.”
McClain, who also played basketball and football in high school, knows the level of competition will be much higher.
“The biggest difference is, at every meet, I will have to compete to my full potential. At the high school level, it is hit-or-miss with how good competitors are. At the Division I level, I know every meet is going to be competitive.”
McClain, who plans to major in engineering, enjoyed his tour of Akron’s campus.
“A couple of weeks before states, I went up for a visit to Akron and I liked it,” McClain said. “The coach talked to me, I felt good about the players and he [the coach] told me whenever I’m ready to let him know to send the letter-of-intent over.”
In addition to liking the campus, McClain chose Akron for a couple of additional reasons.
“There were other schools,” McClain said. “Akron gave me the best offer, that’s the main reason I chose them. And they’re close to home.”
Staying in the area was a big factor for McClain, who has high hopes for his first track and field season as a college athlete.
“I’m just trying to stay focused,” McClain said. “I know a lot of people say that your freshman year is the most chaotic year, but I think I will be able to handle it.”
McClain is looking forward to the opportunity that lies ahead in the next year as a Zip.
“I just worked to get to where I am,” McClain said. “Other people — they have the potential, but they just have to work to get there.”