BASKING RIDGE — A lot can happen in a year, especially in a competitive sport. Athletes learn from their results and make extensive changes. The Woodbridge high school’s improvements in the 400 hurdles were on display at Ridge High School for the North II Group III meet.
Teammates Temi Odukale and Comfort Akinbo finished in the top two spots in their event, finishing well ahead of their competition. Odukale had a final time of 1:04.04 to win the 400 hurdles. Akinbo came in second place with a 1:06.
These results come as a welcoming reminder of how far they have come over the past year. Both Odukale and Akinbo failed to qualify last season, but that all changed on Friday night.
“I think it shows how much we dedicate ourselves to doing hurdles,” Odukale said. “I know last year I didn’t qualify. To make such a big jump this year, I think it shows how much more focused we are.”
“It’s just a different mindset,: Akinbo said. “We have more motivation and focus. Last year I was eighth, I was close to moving onto groups, but I didn’t. I think it’s a different mindset.”
The Barron teammates put in the work at practice and let their talents speak for itself on the track. The Woodbridge runners are close friends and constantly make sure the other isn’t slipping up.
“We do push each other in practice,” Akinbo said. “There’s no slacking when we are around each other and we get the best out of each other.”
Odukale has left her mark this season in the 400 hurdles. She recently won the event at the Greater Middlesex Conference Championships with a time of 1:02.84. She also won the 400 at the GMC meet.
“The earlier meets are beginning to carry us now,” Odukale said. “Now it’s championship mode.”
They are on a mission. Odukale and Akinbo want to make the Meet of Champions, a place they are familiar with. Odukale has reached the occasion in the 400 hurdles and with her 4×400 relay team, a group that Akinbo was a part of.