Uzoekwe wins three Class 6A state titles for Westview
Colleen Uzoekwe called her own shot at state championship acclaim.
With four Metro League district medals draped around her neck last weekend, the Westview all-around track and field superstar said she would battle and put herself in prime position to win three state titles: the 100 meters, 200 and long jump.
It wasn't a cocky claim in the least, but one rooted in arduous hard work. After never lifting a weight in her life, Uzoekwe attacked last offseason with a ferocity unknown to even the most tireless athlete. She pumped iron and pounded the track, laboring to add on the muscle that would both lift her leaping ability and sharpen her speed. Uzoekwe's muscles popped and her natural athleticism unlocked. The packed on power added another dimension to her already compelling athletic template.
Uzoekwe put in the work required to become one of the state's sublime athletes. And at the Class 6A state championship meet on May 25, she reaped the rewards, sweeping the 100 (12.08) and 200 (24.98), winning the long jump (18-04.50) and taking second in the high jump (5-05) at Mt. Hood Community College.
"I'm happy, I know I'm going to look back and be very proud of myself," Uzoekwe said. "I'm still shocked and still trying to process everything."
Uzoekwe was named the OSAA 6A Female Athlete of the Meet after scoring 38 points for Westview on her own. She's the first three-time state champion in school history and the seldom seen star who crossed over into both track and field.
Uzoekwe will have a huge picture of herself plastered on the wall of the Westview weight room, according to head coach Rebecca Martin, for essentially running the 6A state meet. It's an apt spot for such an honor, considering that's the location is where Uzoekwe wielded her state championship greatness.
Uzoekwe is a shining example for all athletes to what effort and tedious work can do. Surely, the Wildcat junior was blessed with natural ability. But she wasn't the heralded underclassman coming in winning every event she entered upon enrolling at Westview. Last year as a sophomore Uzoekwe didn't reach the 100 final and she placed eighth in the 200. She had to devote herself to the grind, sacrificing other areas in her teenage life to achieve her dreams. Her breakthroughs can be attributed to her dedication to the craft. Through the summer, fall, winter and spring all Uzoekwe did was lift, condition and stretch. On one offseason day Uzoekwe said she ran five 200 all-out repeat sprints, followed by four 40-meter sprints and two 400's after that all with just two minutes of rest in-between.
"It was hardcore," Uzoekwe said with a smile. "It was painful and hard, there were a lot of death days, but it definitely worked out. Everything paid off. I'm definitely proud of myself and where I came from."
With a season of high school track and field to go and collegiate future ahead, Uzoekwe said she's not stopping now. Such versatility makes Uzoekwe a born heptathlete candidate, someone who could learn the hurdles and throws to add to her diverse skill set.
"Hopefully I can go professional someday, but I still have a lot way to go," Uzoekwe said. "It's something I want and would love to do in college."
Uzoekwe helped Westview place sixth as a team with 43 points. Fellow Westview junior Emma Baughman placed fifth in the 400. Westview senior Morgan Kirnak placed 14th in the javelin. Sunset tied for eighth in the team standings with 24 points, Mountainside tied for 21st with 10 points and Beaverton took 29th with 6.5 points thanks to sophomore Lily Reynolds who placed fifth in the high jump and Katarina Bosworth who took sixth in the 100 hurdles. Sunset junior Lucy Huelskamp placed third in the 1,500 and took second in the 3,000. Sophomore Dale Thompson took second in the pole vault and sophomore Lydia Barnett placed second in the triple jump and 12th in the long jump.
The Mavericks' 4x400 relay of Grace Saxton, Isabelle Carrington, Cierra Thompson and Anna Miller took second. Miller placed second in the 200. Carrington, Thompson, Miller and Shaylee Gonzalez took ninth in the 4x100 relay. Mountainside junior Katey Krisky placed 11th in the shot put and 14th in the discus. Southridge senior Chloe Wood was 13th in the discus.
Baughman, Lillian Janaski, Tess Werts and Chloe Montague placed eighth in the 4x400 relay for Westview.