Crayton Carrozza (11) competes in the 1600m at 2017 Texas Relays
Many state conferences in Texas and nationwide--including the SPC, TAPPS, and UIL--enable an athlete to compete if they are less than 19 years of age on September 1. Carrozza turns 19 on August 26, six days prior to the stated date, making him ineligilible to compete.
Carrozza is the son of St. Stephens track and field/cross country/swimming head coach Paul Carrozza and American professional distance runner and 1993 Team USA World Championships team member in the 3000m, Sheila Carrozza.
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He was schooled at Acton Academy in Austin, which is a non-traditional format and revolutionary learning environment that focuses on real world projects. In the eighth grade, at an age when he could have been in the ninth grade he was enrolled into a traditional high school setting, which put him off the traditional high school grade/age path.
Last year, Carrozza made the jump from good to elite, and he was one of the best runners nationally. He ran PRs of 49.71, 1:50.38, 4:11.79, 9:15.93, and 15:25.60 en route to winning four SPC individual state titles and making him one of the top recruits in the nation. Some of the top distance and middle distance programs are recruiting Carrozza such as Southern California, Washington, Wake Forest, Princeton, Stanford, Texas, Tulsa, Georgetown, Villanova, and Notre Dame.
Coach Carrozza stated, the challenge will be having to figure out what meets and races he can compete in that aren't SPC or UIL certified as well as meets that won't affect his collegiate eligibility. Crayton will not only be unable to compete with his teammates for traditional high school meets, but he will not be able to run with his team for another state title or possible NXN berth.
However, he will be able to challenge for a Foot Locker Nationals berth as they enable athletes to compete who have not turned 19 prior to August 1, 2018. Even though Foot Locker South Regionals isn't until November, this could still be a viable option as Coach Carrozza stated, "We know how to train so we don't have to race a lot." That could be a motivating factor for Crayton to train for this upcoming season.
Running against the pros this year shouldn't be an issue as this year, Carrozza ran against a professional field in the 800m at the Portland Track Festival. As for the St Stephens staff and team, it will be a challenge without Carozza, but the goal is still to win another SPC team title. "I'm still motivated as a coach to do well without him," coach Carrozza said.