Djimmon Ogega won’t be taking part in his desired event today at the Columbus North boys track and field sectional.
The good news for the Whiteland sophomore is he’ll likely be too busy to miss it.
Skipping the lung-searing 400-meter dash might not be the way Ogega would have filled out the Warriors’ postseason entry list, though he’s at peace with his coach’s decision.
“I was kind of bummed out about it at first, but I’m trying to help out the team the best I can,” said Ogega, whose career-best time in the 400 is 51.2 seconds.
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“The 400 is super tough, but I like it because it gives me a challenge. I am going to watch it, and if the other runners are under 50 (seconds) then I’ll understand.”
Strides Ogega has made this spring aren’t merely steps on an all-weather surface.
He produced varsity points for Whiteland as a ninth-grader but has elevated his production to the point where today he’ll be in four events (200-meter dash, long jump and the 400- and 1,600-meter relays).
“Djimmon has really matured a substantial amount from last year as a student and athlete. He came in as a freshman with a lot of talent and performed well at certain times. This year he has found out how to give a high level of effort in both practice and meets on a consistent basis,” Warriors coach Brandon Bangel said.
“This is evident in his performances at our conference meet.”
Whiteland’s first Mid-State Conference team crown since the late 1970s was, to a degree, made possible by Ogega winning the long jump and 400, taking second in the 200-meter dash and third in the 100.
He earlier helped the Warriors to third-place standing at the Johnson County Meet by placing third in the long jump and 400 and fourth in the 200.
Ogega has lived in Indiana since he was 8 months old; he officially became part of the Clark-Pleasant Community School Corp. during his sixth-grade school year (2010-11).
He began competing in track and field in seventh grade. Tonight his relay duties are second leg of the 400 relay and leading off the 1,600 relay.
“Honestly, I’ve just been working hard for it. I ran varsity as a freshman, too, but this is my first season doing the 200,” he said. “The more I place in the events the more it pumps me up.”
Bangel admits the 400 is Ogega’s best individual event. However, with the Warriors boasting some serious acceleration in the 400 relay — the event immediately following the open 400 — the coach had a difficult choice to make.
“I feel he is realistically a year away from being a state-caliber athlete in the open 400. That is why we have switched his events,” Bangel said.
“With his combination of speed and strength I believe Djimmon has the ability to be a very high-level 400 runner over the next two years.”
Just not tonight.
THE OGEGA FILE
Name: Djimmon Ogega
Family: Parents, Sakawa and Dorothy; brothers, Robert, 18, Charlie, 14, Musa, 11, Carlos, 7; sister, Raquel, 7
Favorite TV show: “Blue Mountain State”
Favorite food: Chinese
Favorite movie: “The 5th Quarter”
Favorite athlete: De’Anthony Thomas
Favorite team: Oregon football