Since the first time he suited up for the Stansbury High baseball team as a freshman, Cayden Clark has been a mainstay in the Stallions’ lineup.
Come next year, he hopes to do the same thing when he begins his college career. On Nov. 12, Clark took the first step toward achieving that goal, signing a national Letter-of-Intent to play baseball at Dixie State University in St. George. As the Trailblazers continue their transition to NCAA Division I status, Clark hopes to play a big role in Dixie State’s outfield.
“I really like the coaching staff and the way they run their program down there,” Clark said of Dixie State. “It was a hard decision, but that’s really what it came down to. It was awesome, because it’s something that I’ve been working toward for my entire life. Committing and signing is really what I’ve been working toward.”
In addition to competing for a spot in the starting lineup, Clark also plans to study sports medicine. He said he would like to become either an athletic trainer or a college coach.
Clark will join a Dixie State program that has a distinct Tooele County presence on its roster. Clark’s Stansbury teammate, Braydon Allie, also signed with the Trailblazers, while former Tooele High standout Brett Porthan is preparing for his freshman season at DSU.
“It says a lot,” Clark said, noting that another Stansbury product, Colton Sundloff, signed with Division I Cal State Fullerton. “It’s really opening eyes about Tooele County and what kind of athletes we have here.”
Clark has been a steady contributor throughout his high school career, and he was off to a blazing start this past spring. Through the Stallions’ first eight games, he boasted a .577 batting average (15-of-26) with five doubles, a triple, three home runs and 15 RBIs. He had an on-base percentage of .581 and a 1.192 slugging percentage, giving him an astronomical 1.773 OPS. While COVID-19 brought the season to an abrupt end and forced him to shift his recruiting process online, Clark continued his torrid pace during the American Legion season, helping propel the Stallions deep into the tournament against stiff competition. That has him excited for what the 2021 season has in store for the Stallions, given their talent.
“It’s way exciting,” Clark said. “I feel like we’re going to do something really special this year. I just want to win state with the team. The biggest goal I have is to be successful and make a name for Stansbury.”
Clark came into his junior year off a strong sophomore season, having hit .346 in 27 games with nine doubles, a triple and nine RBIs to go with 10 stolen bases. As a freshman, he hit .342 in 24 games with six doubles and 11 RBIs.
He credited his extensive high school and club game experience for helping him reach his goal of playing collegiate baseball. He said his hitting coach, Jason Crawford, has also played a big role, as have his parents.
“It’s helped a ton,” Clark said. “One of the coaches that I played for, Sam Swenson, when I was on the Marshals really helped me a ton, and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for that team and that coach. The high school coaches — (Jason) Jones and Mike Nunley — Mike Nunley’s been a huge part of where I am today, and (so has) Ken Nunley.”
Clark was also a standout for Stansbury’s football team the past two seasons, catching 53 passes for 854 yards and 15 touchdowns as the Stallions made back-to-back trips to the Class 4A quarterfinals. He had 114 tackles, two sacks, an interception, two blocked punts and a punt return for a touchdown in 22 career games played, and he was named Stansbury’s Special Teams Player of the Year this past season.