Athlete of the Month: Udodiri Okwandu

Lea Chang, Editor-in-Chief

To say that Udodiri Okwandu is a good student athlete would be a gross understatement. She is a straight-A student, and has skillfully balanced her years of taking AP classes with being a varsity captain of Track and Field. Not only does Okwandu maintain high standards in both academics and athletics, but she also manages to give back to the community; she is heavily involved in the Black Student Union and volunteers at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center as well.

In the sixth grade, Okwandu was inspired to start running by her older sisters who were involved in the sport. “To my surprise, I ended up falling in love with track,” Okwandu said. She had also taken up gymnastics in fourth grade and did the two sports competitively until her freshman year, after which she focused solely on track. She became a varsity captain her sophomore year, a commendable achievement for any student in any sport. Last year, she won the High Point Varsity Girl award for Track and Field, as well as the Varsity Athletic award. Furthermore, Okwandu has gone undefeated in her individual races since last season. However, she still isn’t satisfied and continues to aim higher. “I still hope to decrease my times so I am more competitive for CIF,” she said.

Okwandu is also at the top of her class academically. In her junior year, she was a semifinalist for the National Achievement Scholarship, an award offered to Black American high school students who score well on the PSAT. She also received the AP Scholar with Honor award. This year, Okwandu continues to maintain her 4.0 GPA despite her hefty course load which includes AP Government, AP Calculus, AP Psychology, and AP English Language.

Okwandu will be continuing her already impressive legacy at a fittingly prestigious school next year. She is currently deciding between Harvard University and Stanford University, two of the most illustrious and selective schools in the world. Once she makes her decision, she plans on pursuing a major in the life sciences, such as neuroscience or biology.

Okwandu believes that she owes her successes largely to those around her who have supported her. “All throughout my school years, I have always had P.E. teachers, coaches, and even family members who saw the talent I had within myself that I didn’t even recognize myself. Their encouragement inspired me to try it out and continued to aid in me staying dedicated to the sport,” she said.