An exchange between brothers is how Whiteland will conclude what’s been a historic boys track and field season.

Freshman Charlie Ogega, third runner in the Warriors’ 1,600-meter relay, will hand the baton to older brother, Djimmon, in the final event at Saturday’s IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Finals while shouting these words of encouragement:

“Go! Go! Go!”

Djimmon, a junior who by then will have competed individually in the 200- and 400-meter dashes (he’s seeded 16th and 10th, respectively) will take it from there.

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This postseason has been unforgettably enjoyable for the second and third of Sakawa and Dorothy Ogega’s six children.

The only negative is that it took a teammate’s misfortune to make it happen.

At the Whiteland Sectional on May 19, Warriors senior Shaw Cloud pulled a hamstring while approaching the main straightaway in the 200 dash final.

With Cloud, the third runner in the 1,600 relay, suddenly unavailable, Warriors coach Brandon Bangel, with only a few minutes to make a decision, chose Charlie Ogega as Cloud’s replacement.

“I told him to man up. It’s time for him to shine,” Djimmon said. “He really wasn’t nervous at all.”

It showed.

Leadoff runner Jacob Walters and fellow senior Brandon Patterson did their part keeping Whiteland in contention. The Ogega brothers closed the deal, as the Warriors won in a time of 3:24.13 ahead of runner-up Warren Central.

This foursome is seeded 16th for the state finals after placing third at the Franklin Regional in 3:23.20.

A year from now it’s conceivable Charlie and Djimmon Ogega will be in as many as four events together — the 100, 200, long jump and 1,600 relay. For the time being, the objectives are for a smooth handoff and a place on the award’s podium at the end of Saturday’s meet.

“I’m super excited because not everyone gets to run with their younger brother and be a role model for him,” said Djimmon, a 400 specialist who took home first-place ribbons with convincing victories at both sectional and regional.

“That’s important to me because I know he looks up to me.”

Djimmon Ogega, who plays football and is a baritone in his school’s show and jazz choirs, is careful to manage his time. Charlie carries a 3.7 grade-point average and is part of the Warriors football program.

During middle school track competitions last spring, Charlie could get by on God-given physical skills, even if it meant a more leisurely pace the first 200 meters and sprinting the final 200.

Not anymore.

Not with big brother watching.

“They’re good kids, and Djimmon is not only the fastest kid we have but is the hardest worker we have. He’s sort of set the expectation for everyone else,” Bangel said. “Each set of brothers has a different dynamic, but Djimmon wants Charlie to be successful.”

In his ninth season at Whiteland, Bangel has seen the brothers at the various stages of their track and field careers.

Charlie, he said, is slightly ahead of where Djimmon was as a ninth-grader.

Charlie’s split at regional in the 1,600 relay was 51.1 seconds. Djimmon’s fastest two years ago was a 51.5. Bangel said Charlie is a better runner technically than his brother was in his debut varsity season.

No jealousy exists between the two, however. They take great pride in each other’s accomplishments.

Come Saturday, Charlie will be his brother’s most vocal supporter during Djimmon’s assigned heats of the 200- and 400-meter dash.

Then, together, they will, “Go! Go! Go!”

“Going to state … it’s scary. But then again it’s a good thing. Having my brother there will relax me because he knows how I run and will give me advice,” Charlie said. “He’s a very positive person, and I hope to be like him one day.”

Ogega brothers pullout


Djimmon Ogega

Age: 17

Born: Minneapolis

Family: Parents, Sakawa and Dorothy; brothers, Robert, 19, Charlie, 15, Musa, 13, and Carlos, 10; sister, Raquel, 10

Favorite TV show: “Empire”

Favorite food: Hamburgers

Favorite movie: “Soul Plane”

Favorite athlete: De’Anthony Thomas

Favorite team: University of Oregon football

Charlie Ogega

Age: 15

Born: Indianapolis

Family: Parents, Sakawa and Dorothy; brothers, Robert, 19, Djimmon, 17, Musa, 13, and Carlos, 10; sister, Raquel, 10

Favorite TV show: “Empire”

Favorite food: Bacon cheeseburgers

Favorite movie: “Fast and Furious 7”

Favorite athlete: De’Anthony Thomas

Favorite team: University of Oregon football

Author photo
Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at