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Cloverdale’s Michael Ogbeiwi finds success in senior year

Broken wrist no obstacle for Lord Tweedsmuir Athlete

It wasn’t quite the finish he wanted, but—for a man with a broken wrist—it was quite the accomplishment.

Michael Ogbeiwi, competing with a fractured wrist, finished second overall in the senior boys shot put and third overall in the senior boys hammer throw at the B.C. high school track and field championships June 9-11 in Langley.

Ogbeiwi, a Grade 12 at Lord Tweedsmuir, had to drop out of the discus competition because of his injury.

“I just couldn’t throw with the condition my wrist is in,” Ogbeiwi said. “I had to scrap the discus. My hand started swelling up.”

He was trying to break the record in the shot put.

“I’m a little bummed out, because I wanted to break the B.C. high school record,” he said. “And this was my last chance.”

That record stands at 17.36. During practice in October last year, Ogbeiwi threw 19.40 metres.

“This year definitely wasn’t my year,” he added. “I’m dealing with a scaphoid fracture in my wrist. So I was in a cast for the last three months or so. I’ve been in pain for about nine months, so the injury’s been there for a lot longer.”

At the high school track and field championships, Ogbeiwi threw the hammer 59.91 metres and his best shot put was 14.71 metres. He used his left hand in the shot put because his right wrist was in so much pain.

And while Ogbeiwi finished third in hammer throw, his nearly 60-metre toss broke the previous B.C. High School track and field championships record of 54.94 metres.

“Hammer throw is a very deep field,” he said. “I competed against some of my friends, we train together as well, and we all just battled it out, but they just had a better day than I did.”

It’s been quite the Grade 12 year for Ogbeiwi. Earlier this month he was inducted into the Lord Tweedsmuir Panther Hall of Fame. The select club only has 14 inductees (12 students and two coaches). The Panther Hall opened in 2001.

“I’m extremely honoured,” he said. “There are some exceptional athletes in my grade.”

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Ogbeiwi was the only one inducted into the Panther Hall of Fame this year. He said he was shooting for the honour since he first heard about the Hall when he was in Grade 9.

“I compete in track and field as well as football,” Ogbeiwi explained. “I’ve been playing sports at Lord Tweedsmuir since the eighth grade. Over the years, we’ve been successful in football, but individually, I’ve been very successful in track and field.”

Ogbeiwi’s been competing in track and field since he was a nine-year-old and he started playing football in Grade 7. He also played basketball for Tweedy.

In track and field, he’s garnered numerous competition points for the Panther’s in regional meets, provincial qualifiers, and provincials. Over the years he’s broken some provincial and Canadian records while at Tweedsmuir in shot put, hammer throw, and discus.

“I guess, with all that tallied up over the years, I was able to get the nod for the Panther Hall of Fame.”

He said his athletic experience at Tweedsmuir has been excellent.

“The staff, the teachers, the coaches, everyone who’s helped me out over my past five years have been amazing,” he said. “They’ve all worked hard to make the programs run smooth and better for everyone involved, every athlete. And Brien Gemmell and Mike Mitro have played a major role. I can’t thank them enough for making things work over these last five years. They’ve watched me grow up and I appreciate them for all they’ve done for me.”

Mitro, a teacher/coach at Tweedsmuir, told the Cloverdale Reporter Ogbeiwi is a very dedicated person, one who profoundly focusses on his goals, but also one who finds time to prioritize the pursuits of others.

“He took it upon himself this track and field season to coach our young, inexperienced throwers and stayed with them providing advice through the SSSAA, SFVAA and BC Championships.”

Mitro said Ogbeiwi is one of the nicest students in the school. He’s a kid who’s very friendly and one who goes out of his way to help fellow students and teachers alike.

“It must be mentioned that Michael’s mom, Dayo, has instilled in her son a need to be both humble and kind, but also an amazing work ethic when trying to attain a goal,” added Mitro.

Mitro said Ogbeiwi was three-sport athlete at LT for a long time before dropping basketball to concentrate on football and track and field.

“I remember him on our 4 x 100 team in Grade 8 as the first leg because he had done club track and knew how to use the blocks,” said Mitro. “He proved to be an explosive sprinter as well as a thrower early on. But really he just wanted to help with our team success. This characteristic has made him a role model to our young student athletes as well as being very well respected by his peers and staff.”

Earlier this school year, Ogbeiwi accepted a four-year, full-ride scholarship offer from the University of Arizona. He’ll be trading in his Panther green for Wildcat blue and red in September as he competes in track and field in the NCAA.

He may also “walk-on” for a tryout with the Wildcats football team.

“That’ll be a decision I make when I’m down there.”

Ogbeiwi said his family was “pretty fired-up” when they heard of his scholarship offers. He got numerous offers from major Power Five conference schools.

He made a list of his top five, which included big names like the University of Washington and the University of Oregon, but ultimately he chose Arizona.

“When I went on the official visit—they flew me out—I got to the school and met the coaches, met the team, and I just had a better connection with the coach on Arizona,” Ogbeiwi explained. “I thought, long-term, this will be beneficial to my career, since I’m shooting for bigger things like the Olympics and the World Championships over the next five years.”

He said the final decision to pick Arizona was extremely difficult with offers from UW and Oregon on the table. Both schools are much closer to home and their proximity would allow Ogbeiwi to visit his family more often.

For now, Ogbeiwi said he’s focussing on healing his wrist. He’ll continue to prepare, and if he’s good to go by August, he’ll compete for Canada at the World Junior Championships in Colombia.

“That’ll depend on what my wrist situation is like in the next five to six weeks here,” he said. “If I’m healed, I’m in and the goal is to win it.”

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Malin Jordan

About the Author: Malin Jordan

Malin is the editor of the Cloverdale Reporter.
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