Woodbury track & field: Osifuye earns Royals' first-ever state title
Woodbury senior Johnathan Osifuye leapt into the record books to become the Royals' first-ever individual state title winner Saturday at the Class AA state track and field meet at Hamline University in St. Paul.
Osifuye's jump of 22 feet, 3 inches in the preliminaries of the long jump held up as the best jump of the day and crowned him as the state champion.
"I never would have thought about this a couple of years ago," Osifuye said. "Up until last year I had scratched almost every single long jump I had done."
In his first state meet trip Osifuye beat out section rival Akeem Sirleaf of North St. Paul for the state title and anxiously waited to hear the distances of Sirleaf's final jump before pumping a fist in celebration. Osifuye still had a jump to complete, but it didn't matter at that point, the title was his.
"We're excited for John," Woodbury head coach Jim Scott said. "It was nice that he had that and he gets to go on the podium now."
Osifuye had the second best seed jump behind another section rival, St. Paul Highland Park's Paul Akintade. Akintade had a jump of 23, 5 ½ inches at the Section 4AA meet to beat Osifuye, who finished second at the section meet.
The depth of Section 4AA helped prepare Osifuye for the state meet and also helped keep things light in between jumps.
"It's kind of cool that we're all close enough that we can come back here and laugh and joke before and then come out and want to beat each other out on the runway, but still be cool after," Osifuye said.
Eight athletes qualified for the state meet from Section 4AA and three made the state finals. Osifuye had a personal best jump of 23 feet, ½ inch at the section meet to place second. Sirleaf finished sixth at the section meet. Akintade made the finals at the state meet and finished ninth with a jump of 21-3.
Osifuye's title completed a busy day. In addition to competing in the long jump Osifuye ran legs on the 4x100-meter relay and the 4x200 relays. The 4x200 relay did not finish after dropping the baton on an exchange and the 4x100 finished fifth.