Seventh-grader Imani Obieke has posted some of the fastest Section V sprint times this spring at Freddie Thomas, but understands there are other priorities if she wants to be the best. First, I have to be a student, she says. Photo by: Adrian Kraus
Resides: Rochester. School: Dr. Freddie Thomas. Grade: Seventh. Events: 100- and 200-meter dashes. Arrival: Obieke, a first-year track and field athlete still in junior high, won the His and Hers Invitational girls 100- and 200-meter races with the third- and fourth-fastest, respectively, reported times in Section V. Family: Lives with her aunt Nkem and grandmother Joan.
Franklin outdoor girls track and field coach Majied Eason wanted to help a meet move along last month, so he set up hurdles for an upcoming event.
Eason said that out of the corner of his eyes, he caught a glimpse of a sprinter with the potential to be a pace-setter in Section V for years.
Imani Obieke, a seventh-grader at Freddie Thomas in the Rochester School District, was just warming up. Obieke has impressed since then, with competitive times and an undefeated record in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Records for the His and Hers Invitational are unable to confirm that Obieke is the first seventh-grader to win both races at the 33-year old meet. Co-meet director Dave Hennessey said he doubts that it has happened before.
She is special, Eason said. Once she becomes stronger, she is really going to raise the bar in Section V.
The best thing is, it's going to improve the group in the area.
Eason has little doubt and adds that it's an exciting time for Section V.
It is certainly a beginning.
This is Obieke's first varsity season with a track or any other team. The His and Hers meet at Victor was her first high school invitational. She still needs to learn the important and subtle details of being an athlete.
I like it, said Obieke, a 'B' student. It takes a toll to be at my best, not let my grades fall so I can stay on the team, stay away from trouble and be humble.
First, I have to be a student. It's going really good.
The latest step forward for Obieke, who had to pass a fitness test like all seventh-graders in the state who want to compete at the varsity level, was in Victor.
What I accomplished was big, Obieke said. I learned how to pace myself, to be humble.
Yes, I'm the youngest (out there), just calm down, just be what I can be.
Obieke ran the 100 in 12.75 seconds, the 200 in 26.34. Faster times have been reported in Section V, according to Yen Timing Services. But not many.
Batavia's Erica Williams and Alexander's Julia Pettys, both juniors, are the only ones ahead of Obieke in the 100 at 12.54. Technically, that makes Obieke the fastest girls 100-meter sprinter in the city at 13 years old.