The Outdoor Track and Field State Championships were held last weekend and a handful of locals made noise, including Johnston’s Lala Olagundoye, who won the high jump title after taking home the indoor title back in February.
“I felt instant relief when I won. Just knowing that all my hard work on and off the track during practice and during school paid off, it was a reward in itself. It felt good to win, and I hope I can feel the same way next year,” said Olagundoye, who was confident heading into the day as the favorite to win the title. “Going into the day, I expected to do my best in order to at least place in the top 3. There are a lot of competitive and talented girls in this event and many of them have become my friends. But you can never predict what will happen. I could either do extremely well, or have a bad day and not even clear opening height. So going into this I was confident in my ability to make it over the heights I needed, but I knew that mistakes are possible, and sometimes unavoidable. I tried hard for a clean clear in my earlier jumps and was able to make it over most of them without a mistake.”
Olagundoye is already among the top athletes in the state as a sophomore, and hopes to continue to cement her legacy in the final two years of her high school career.
“I believe I can grow much more as a jumper. Last season, the highest I’d jumped was 5’4”, but I was only able to clear that two times. This season, I saw improvement in my jumping ability and I was able to consistently clear 5’4”. At states, I cleared 5’3” and almost made it over 5’5”. This was big for me because I had never come this close to clearing anything over 5’4”. My performance at states gives me hope that in the next track season, I will be able to jump 5’5” and hopefully, even improve beyond that,” said Olagundoye. “This win motivates me to work even harder during my offseasons to improve my jumping ability and to come back next track season with new opportunities and hopefully, higher heights being cleared. I thank my coaches for always pushing me to be the be the best athlete I can be. Next season, I’ll be back on the track as a stronger athlete and I’m excited to see where my training will take me.”
NOTE: Olagundoye would also take home eighth place in the long jump, while Johnston’s Sean Young took 11th in the 200 meter dash.