Athletic and insightful: a look at two remarkable DSA students who tackle curriculums and competitions
BY DELPHINE LIU
PHOTO CREDIT: @COMESEEVON
With ease, Precious Ogboko scores for the DSA team. Her success comes from her talent, hard work, and mindset.
Adrien Jacobs and Precious Ogboko are two remarkable athletes, students, and people who have both recently achieved impressive awards in their respective sports. Balancing many activities can be challenging but these two students have mastered the task. With support from friends, family, and coaches, they have become role models in their communities, using athletics to inspire others around them.
Precious Ogboko is a key player on her volleyball, basketball, and track and field teams. In track and field, she competes in shot put and discus. Ogboko has received the MVP award in all of her sports, gone to states for indoor track, and made all-conference all four years in every sport. She has also made all-district for basketball, a qualification for which fifteen girls are picked from all across the Durham school district, and qualified for the list of potential Ms. Basketball winners. Ogboko started playing all of her sports in 7th grade.
Which sport is your favorite?
PO: My favorite [sport] is basketball. I'm really close with my basketball team. We are a really small team [and that allows us to] build genuine connections. It's a sisterhood. You cry with them, celebrate with them, and create a good bond with your teammates. It helps you gain leadership skills.
Is there a difference between playing a team sport vs. a more individual one?
PO: Yes, definitely. Basketball is a team sport. You need everyone to pitch in for it to be successful. In track, it's on you. Even though you are a team, you have individual results. For me that's more pressure because you can't blame nobody for your mistakes. It's really about what YOU are doing. In basketball, if you are feeling down, you have that teammate to help you out. I feel like that's the main difference, the support system.
What have you learned about leadership by playing basketball?
PO: Coming in as a freshman on varsity, I knew I couldn't come in scared, I needed to come in with confidence. At the end of the day, I want to win the game. You have to keep everybody in check and it has to be balanced. That's how you become a leader.
What do you do to prepare yourself before a meet or a game? Is there a certain mindset you have to be in?
PO: The night before [a game] I make sure to get a good meal in. [When I have] home games, we don't have time, but before away games I'll take a nap for about 45 minutes.
How do you balance your school and sports?
PO: It's definitely a struggle. It's senior year. I have a planner so I can write everything out, I do work between classes, and I have a TA period that I do homework in.
What are your goals? What do you hope to achieve?
PO: I got into UNC Chapel Hill. My academics are my number one before sports and I got a full ride there, so I will likely be going there.
How do your friends and family support you? Has anyone said something to you that has really helped you?
PO: "The only thing stopping you is you." Every time I am in the gym, I want to get better for myself, to be the best person I can be. My mom is a single mom and every time I play my games I am playing for her. I put out 100%. Also, the haters [motivate me]. I just want to prove them wrong. They keep giving you new goals to achieve.
Do you have anything you would like to say to aspiring athletes?
PO: I would like to say to anyone in sports or in life, that you should just be in the moment. Just go for it.
Adrien Jacobs runs indoor track, outdoor track, and cross-country. As a junior, he is taking AP classes, consistently at his practices and meets, and working a job on the weekend. He has been running since freshman year. In the past, he has competed and won his event in states for indoor track, and qualified for nationals. He now has ambitions to qualify for nationals for outdoor track.
You did not expect to place 5th in the nation for the 500 m in the indoor season. What allowed this great improvement in speed and placement?
AJ: To be honest I am not even sure because looking back the previous track season I was ranked 8th in the state final and that was really a drive for me. Going into the indoor season I didn't realize how much I had improved. It's hard to gauge how much your speed has improved when you have been running long distances for a whole season. Even towards the beginning of the indoor season there was not necessarily a big improvement. Then after the winter break, I got COVID and was out for two weeks. That really pushed me because I didn't want to fall behind. I [was able to] focus on the skills I wanted to improve on.
What do you love about running? Is there a particular reason you started doing so?
AJ: There is always a chance to improve yourself. There are certain things you can do to improve your performance. You can look at a race and see what you need to work on. When you are doing a team sport it can be a little bit different. With track it's a lot about your mindset and what you can do to improve yourself.
Who pushes you in a competitive aspect?
AJ: There is this one kid who doesn't go here, but last year in the outdoor season he beat me in the 400 every single time. [During that time] a friend of mine, Liam Markham, was telling me, "at that point it's not a matter of skills, it's a matter of mindset. He had the mindset." Going into now, I [am looking forward to] racing him again.
How do you balance your grades, track, a job?
AJ: It can be challenging at times. My brother is now going to law school, [he is the one who] has taught me to push myself. I take opportunities and know what my limit is so I am able to balance it out.
What are ways sports have allowed you to become a leader?
AJ: I became a captain my sophomore year and with that a lot of responsibility and leadership [came]. It took a little bit of navigating because you want to show your leadership but you don't want to be overbearing. I am still navigating those waters, but I try to encourage the best I can and draw out my teammates' potential; while giving them time to grow on their own.
How do your friends and family support you?
AJ: So many people have taught me. My coach has always been supportive. When I was a freshman, there was a senior who got me hooked on the 400 meter and 500 meter races which I focus on now. He told me I had potential, and took me under his wing. I [still] strive to be like him. My teammates, Margret Ann, Ella, Sam, Nolan, have laid the groundwork. Going into freshman year I didn't know what I was doing, but they took me in, encouraged me, and pushed me.
Do you have any aspirations for sports in college?
AJ: I have considered running in college. If I am recruited I will definitely take that. My coach said that with my grades and athletic ability I will definitely have a shot at getting into the college I want to. It would be cool to race against some really talented athletes.
PHOTO CREDIT: JEFF SIDES
A powerful sprinter crosses the line, finishing the 500m dash at JDL. Setting a school record for the 300m and winning the 500m at states, Adrien Jacobs has had a rewarding indoor track season and is set for success in the current outdoor season.