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Clayton brothers are a Lakeridge lacrosse legend

Foursome takes international sports stage with team New Zealand


The Clayton brothers of Lake Oswego take time for a photo while training with team New Zealand. From the left are Andrew, Mike, John and Richard with their cousin Jack Clayton.Too many Claytons.

That is the answer from many state coaches for why Lakeridge High School has achieved the one true lacrosse dynasty in Oregon prep sports, winning nine state championships.

The roll call includes Richard, Michael, Andrew and John, and their achievements in this most American of sports are stunning, with all-state, All-American and national collegiate championship honors.

But the peak for these brothers four came just his past summer when they all played on the New Zealand national team that participated in the World Lacrosse Championships in Colorado.

“My dad said it was one of the proudest moments in his life,” said Andrew, who now lives in Lake Oswego and is starting his own business.

The Clayton brothers didn’t just play, they excelled. They helped New Zealand place 12th out of 36 teams.

“Richard led us in goals,” Andrew said. “He had one more than I did, so he talked some smack. But I led us in scoring.”

Actually, Andrew started out in life as a little New Zealander, along with his siblings and parents Barry and Joanne, when they moved to Lake Oswego 13 years ago. Soon, Richard, the eldest, had a request.

“He told dad he wanted to play lacrosse,” Andrew said. “Dad thought he was going to have to buy a horse.”

Fortunately for the Clayton family budget, horses are not required for lacrosse. Which was good, because the other three brothers decided they also wanted to take up the game. Andrew was a scrappy little guy. His growth spurt didn’t come until his junior year at Lakeridge.

“I was good from the start,” Andrew said. “Lacrosse is a really fun sport and we all got addicted to it. There is so much pace. It’s free flowing. There’s a lot of speed. I dropped other sports and played lacrosse the year around.”

Andrew went on to become a key part of the state champion lacrosse machine Coach Curt Sheinin was building at Lakeridge, earning all-state and All-American honors and playing on two title teams. He went on to join brother Mark at Chapman University, where he was a three-time All-American. The brothers helped their school nearly upset the University of Michigan for the NCAA championship in 2008.

“Playing with Michael in the national championship game was an incredibly great time,” Andrew said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Still there was one more thing he wanted to accomplish. Become a lacrosse missionary. And his three brothers helped him.

“Richard got on the Internet to find if there was anything about lacrosse in New Zealand,” Andrew said. “He wanted to find out if it even existed.”

It did. Barely. But that only inspired the Claytons to go to New Zealand and get the ball rolling for the formation of a national lacrosse team. Because New Zealand is a great rugby nation, the Claytons figured lacrosse would be an easy sell.

Actually, lacrosse once existed in New Zealand. It started in 1910. But World War I began four years later, and many of New Zealand’s finest young men went to fight for Mother England. Many of them never came back, and lacrosse faded away.

It’s back now, however, and in 2013 the nation celebrated the founding of soccer. New Zealand now competes on the world stage in lacrosse, and the prestige of the sport will only grow in the coming years, with the next world championship set for Manchester, England in 2018.

But there’s more.

“We want lacrosse to become an Olympic sport,” Andrew said.

That will take some patience, even though lacrosse was an Olympic sport in 1904 and 1908.

“It won’t be until 2022 at the earliest that lacrosse can be in the Olympics,” Andrew Clayton said. “I’ll still be playing.”

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