Ogun­deko signs to Cop­pin State for track and cross coun­try

Ea­gles se­nior ready to con­tinue ca­reer in the MEAC

Maryland Independent - - Sports B - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @aj­ma­son301

Grow­ing up pri­mar­ily in Suit­land in Prince Ge­orge’s County, Tatiana Ogun­deko’s first love was bas­ket­ball.

As she walked through the doors of North Point High School in Wal­dorf, Ogun­deko con­tin­ued to play bas­ket­ball up un­til her ju­nior year but found out that she loved run­ning dur­ing the process.

Ogun­deko ran for three years on the in­door track and field team, one year of cross coun­try and is fin­ish­ing up her sec­ond and fi­nal sea­son on the out­door cir­cuit.

The North Point se­nior mid­dle dis­tance run­ner re­cently made one of the big­gest de­ci­sions of her life as she inked a na­tional let­ter of in­tent at NCAA Di­vi­sion I Cop­pin State Univer­sity to run on the track and field and cross county teams.

Be­gin­ning in Au­gust, Ogun­deko will be con­tinue her ed­u­ca­tion as well as her cross coun­try and track and field ca­reers at the his­tor­i­cally black univer­sity in Bal­ti­more that en­rolls over 4,000 stu­dents.

“At first I didn’t know where I was go­ing, but when I was filling out the ap­pli­ca­tions for school I wanted to stay lo­cal,” said Ogun­deko, who re­ceived a par­tial schol­ar­ship and had her sign­ing cer­e­mony on April 21. “It’s not too big for me, it is not real small. Ev­ery­thing will be pretty easy to find. I’m ex­tremely ex­cited to go to school there.”

Ogun­deko ap­plied to other schools such as Di­vi­sion II’s West Vir­ginia State, West Vir­ginia Wes­leyan and Di­vi­sion I’s Nor­folk State, but Cop­pin State was just the per­fect fit af­ter she went on her of­fi­cial visit on April 2.

“Go­ing to the right school and be­ing able to sign Di­vi­sion I was real im­por­tant to me,” said Ogun­deko, who started play­ing bas­ket­ball at the age of 7 and run­ning track at 14. “When I went on my visit the coaches were real nice and I got to meet a few run­ners on the team. Ev­ery­one just made it feel just like home.”

North Point head track and field coach Debra Hall was ec­static to see Ogun­deko headed to the next level.

“I am ex­cited to see Tatiana re­ceive an ath­letic schol­ar­ship to Cop­pin State Univer­sity,” Hall said. “She has worked hard over the past three years par­tic­i­pat­ing on the cross coun­try, in­door and out­door track and field teams at North Point.”

Cop­pin State is a smaller Di­vi­sion I school which com­petes in the Mid-East­ern Ath­letic Con­fer­ence. Most im­por­tantly, the univer­sity’s goals match up with those of Ogun­deko.

“The track pro­gram likes to win and hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to be in a at­mos­phere like that is a bless­ing,” said Ogun­deko, who will spe­cial­ize in the 800- and 1,600-me­ter runs. “Aside from athletics they also fo­cus on aca­demics and you must keep your grades up.”

Ogun­deko will ma­jor in pre-nurs­ing and now that she has found a col­lege home she feels as though her col­lege ca­reer has al­ready be­gun.

In the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence out­door cham­pi­onships last week, Ogun­deko fin­ished sixth over­all in the 1,600, was 13th in the 800 run and apart of the 3,200 re­lay team which placed third. The Class 4A East Re­gion cham­pi­onships be­gan Thurs­day and con­tinue Satur­day at North County High School in Glen Burnie.

This past win­ter dur­ing the in­door sea­son, she took fifth in the 800 at the SMAC and 4A East Re­gion cham­pi­onships to boast All-County sec­ond-team hon­ors.

“I’m go­ing to miss North Point and the coach­ing staff,” Ogun­deko said. “Coach Hall made sure helped me out out a lot on and off the track. I’m just thank­ful for all the sup­port from all my coaches and team­mates. I’m look­ing for­ward to run­ning at the col­lege level.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

North Point High School se­nior Tatiana Ogun­deko signed her na­tional let­ter of in­tent on April 21 to NCAA Di­vi­sion I out­fit Cop­pin State Univer­sity in Bal­ti­more for track and field and cross coun­try. Seated, from left, are An­gela Wil­liams, Ogun­deko’s sis­ter-in law, Donta Hen­son, Ogun­deko’s brother, Tatiana Ogun­deko and La­to­nia Hen­son, Ogun­deko’s mother.

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