Spencer Lemons, a track and field athlete at San Luis Obispo High, has committed to Harvard.
Lemons, a 6-foot-2 senior, was named the boys field athlete of the meet at last year’s Elks San Luis Obispo County Championships, where he won the long jump title at 20 feet, 10 inches and the triple jump crown at a school-record 43-5.
His career best in the long jump is 21-51⁄2 set at the Alisal Invitational in Salinas this past April, and his standard in the high jump is 6-4, which he cleared as a junior at the PAC 7 championships.
Lemons competed in all three events at the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 finals held at Cerritos College in Norwalk this past May, faring the best in the high jump, with a seventh-place clearance of 6-2.
Ivy League schools don’t offer scholarships for athletics, but Lemons was approved for a spot with the Crimson, he said.
“I’m really, really excited about how many doors it’s going to open,” said Lemons, who intends to major in biology.
He took a visit to the school a couple months ago.
“It was a lot of fun,” Lemons said. “The coaches are great, I really love the area and I got a really good vibe.”
Harvard recruited Lemons expecting him to become a decathlete, he said, which he has already begun to train for.
“As far as his dedication and his work ethic to the sport, it’s top-notch,” Tigers coach David Gomes said. “He’s already making some great strides (for the decathlon). By working on those other skills, he’s just going to be a more well-versed athlete.”
This upcoming spring, Lemons said, he’s hoping to surpass 6 feet, 8 inches in the high jump, 22 feet in the long jump and 45 feet in the triple jump.
“I’ve worked harder this offseason than in any other,” he said.
Lemons is the second Tigers track and field standout over the past two weeks to finalize plans to eventually compete at a Division I program. Pole vaulter Elena Clarke recently signed with UCLA. Lemons and Clarke will likely soon be joined by teammate Abrianna Torres, a jumps and hurdles star who’s currently deciding between a number of high-profile Division I programs in the western region.
Clarke and Torres helped carry the San Luis Obispo girls program to Southern Section Division 3 team titles in 2008 and 2009, and a third-place finish this past year.
“The guys have kind of gone a little under the radar (given the success of the girls program), especially Spencer,” Gomes said. “It was nice for the Harvard coaches to be able to recognize his potential and abilities.”