Catching up with Okwukwe Okolie
Jan. 11, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas - With the 2011 indoor track and field season opener coming this Friday at the UH Leonard Hilton Memorial, junior Okwukwe Okolie is eager to get back on the track and build off her 2010 success.
The thrower from Houston, Texas capped off her most successful season a year ago, qualifying for her first NCAA Championships in the discus. Okolie entered the NCAA Regional meet ranked 36th but propelled herself to a seventh-place finish with a personal-best throw of 167-8 (51.12m).
Competing in the weight throw this weekend, Okolie will be looking to out-throw her current personal best of 29-5.25 (8.97m). With the graduation of All-American Jordyn Brown in 2010, Okolie and the young throwing corps are excited to step up and continue to contribute to the team, starting with this weekend's meet in Houston.
Okolie recently chatted with TexasSports.com about the upcoming season and building off her success from a year ago.
On excitement with the season beginning this weekend: It's really exciting. We've been working hard all fall semester and I'm just ready to put what I've done into action.
On carryover of a successful end to 2010 Outdoor: I am just ready to go to Nationals again and this time, really make an impact, especially with the team. I know we are going to be really good this year. I just feel a fire coming and we're going to explode and make some things happen.
On her training in the fall: I feel that our weight training was a little more intense. We really worked hard in everything that we did and tried to focus on what we had to do to get to where we want to go. We had a lot of good talks with Coach [Bev] and she really encouraged us and let us stay on the right track so that we don't get our focus changed by any distractions outside. So I'm really excited about what we're capable of doing and I think we're going to surprise some people this season.
On the team chemistry this year: I feel like we're getting a lot closer. We're trying to do things to bring us together more as a team, much better than last year. Overall I feel like we're more unified and we're really trying to continue to work towards unity, because unity is the best way a team can work.
I feel like they are doing pretty good for the most part. They're freshman so it's always hard to adjust but I think they've all handled it really well. A lot of them have competed on the world level so that helps them a little when trying to get familiar with the collegiate level.
On replacing the leadership role of senior Jordyn Brown: I feel like all of us have stepped up. Jordyn was a big part, but we've all stepped up and we know we all have to handle ours. We're all together "the Jordyn," because before she handled all our weight but now we have to come together as a team. We're pretty close and bonded, so we don't want anyone to slack or lag back because if we don't fight, then we're going to be looked down upon. We want to handle our business and bring in our points just like Jordyn did for us.