Alowonle, Ogundepo named as Athlete of the Year finalistsEast Ridge's Dayo Ogundepo and Park's R.J. Alowonle have been named finalists for the Lions Club Male Athlete of the Year Award.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
East Ridge's Dayo Ogundepo and Park's R.J. Alowonle have been named finalists for the Lions Club Male Athlete of the Year Award.
The St. Paul Downtown Lions Club has sponsored the program since 1943, presenting the awards annually to a male and female athlete of the year, and will hand out the awards in mid-May.
Past winners include baseball Hall of Famers Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield, Heisman winner Chris Wienke and Minnesota Twins star Joe Mauer. Park 2008 graduate Jackie Voigt won the female Athlete of the Year award as a senior and Park basketball star Sam Jacobson won the male award in 1997.
At East Ridge, Ogundepo is a six-time letter winner in football and track. He was a team captain and team MVP of the Raptors’ football team, a two-time All-Conference selection, and a 2011 All-State honorable mention selection. With one track season to go, he is already a two-time All-Conference selection and was named All-State in 2011. He'll attend the University of Iowa next fall.
Alowonle is three-time state champion in track and field and an All-State soccer player at Park. A University of North Carolina recruit, Alowonle holds numerous track and field records at Park. Last year, he reached the state track and field meet in the maximum four events — something that no other male athlete has done at Park. He also earned two state championships — winning the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles — to become the first male athlete in Park history to win two state titles in the same year.
Both have been strong leaders in the schools on and off the field.
A panel of sportswriters named Ogundepo and Alowonle as two of 12 finalists for this prestigious award in 2012 and they will each be honored at an awards and recognition luncheon at Oakdale’s Prom Center on Tuesday, May 15.