Trading Coasts : Clay Considers Attending Eastern Boarding School


Can Dante Clay play squash?

Lacrosse? Ice hockey?

He probably will find out soon, leaving behind the sun and surf of Southern California for the sleet and snow of upstate New York.

Clay, who rushed for 4,598 yards in three seasons as a running back at North Hollywood High, is probably going to attend Trinity-Pawling School in the fall.

A Division I football talent, Clay didn’t get a required score on the Scholastic Assessment Test and, as a result, said it is likely he will spend a year at the all-boys boarding school in Pawling, N.Y.


Clay’s other option is playing for Bakersfield College, but he said he is leaning toward the East Coast, where he would retake several courses he had this year as a senior at North Hollywood.

“I’m going back there to focus on studying,” said Clay, who had a recruiting trip to Colorado canceled because of his SAT score. “That’s all I need, one year to get everything straight.”

After a year at Trinity-Pawling, Clay would transfer to a four-year college, where he would have four years of eligibility.

With an enrollment of 270--about one-eighth the size of North Hollywood High--Trinity-Pawling would be a dramatic change for Clay. He realized this when he recently visited the school and found himself in eight inches of snowfall.

A parka would be a wise investment. And Clay should get used to chapel services every weekday morning, a mandatory dress code that includes sportcoats and a heavy academic load.

Tom Sheppard, the school’s director of admissions, said: “100 percent of our graduates go on to four-year colleges.”


Like other students, Clay would also have to play three sports. Football is the obvious choice in the fall, but some of the sports offered in winter (squash, hockey, skiing) and spring (lacrosse) would be new for Clay.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Clay has never had a problem proving himself on the football field. He was a three-time All-Valley Pac-8 Conference selection and a two-time All-City Section 3-A Division selection. He scored 52 touchdowns and averaged 8.3 yards per carry in his career.

Trinity-Pawling has won five games in the past two seasons, but that could soon change.

“I hate to see what he does to those teams out there,” North Hollywood Coach Jason Garrison said. “Games will get boring.

“Physically, he could easily play Division I football. He’s as God-gifted as they come.”

Recent Trinity-Pawling graduates went on to play football at Kentucky and Purdue. Boston Red Sox slugger Mo Vaughn and ex-Angels pitcher Kirk McCaskill also graduated from the school.