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The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • Ariel Okorie takes first place at USATF Youth Girls Heptathlon

  • Okorie finished with 4,123 total points and nabbed a silver in the long jump event
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  • WAYNESVILLE — After burning up tracks around the Ozark Conference this past spring season, Waynesville's Ariel Okorie is finding it hard to keep from competing in the summer too.
    From June 24-29 Okorie was at Indiana University for the USA Track and Field Youth Girls Heptathlon for 15 and 16-year-olds and came out on top with 4,123 total points, 34 more than second place.
    That sounds like a solid win, but Okorie said it was a slim enough margin to give her doubts.
    “I thought I was going to lose,” Okorie admitted. “So I was relieved (after it was announced she won). When I was on the way the way to the stand, I saw [the second-place finisher] crying so I thought she was crying because she had won. That's when my dad told me that I had actually won.”
    As for individual events, Okorie took a silver medal in the long jump with a leap of 17' 2”.
    At just 15 years old, it's hard to believe Okorie is such a well-rounded athlete with heaps of self-discipline and determination, but it's all there and visible in her summer workouts.
    “It is a lot of practicing,” Okorie said. “I can't just focus on my favorite events. I have to make sure I have an equal amount of practice time in each to do well.”
    A win at the heptathlon in Indiana might be where others call it quits and say it was a successful summer, but not Okorie.
    This week she is at the Junior Olympic Trials for the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships that will be held on July 21-217 at Turner Stadium in Humble, Texas.
    At the time of this article on Wednesday, Okorie was leading there too.
    It's been a full plate for the young athlete this summer, but she wouldn't trade it for anything.
    Will she ever get a break?
    “After the junior olympics in Houston, I'll have 20 days until school starts,” Okorie said. “So I'll have a couple of weeks, but I have to start practicing for volleyball.”
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