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Wednesday, June 20, 2012
New Mexico Girls Track AOY: Gina Okoye

By Ben Rohrbach

A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 50 fellow Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year winners, click here.


THE WINNER: Gina Okoye

THE BASICS

School: Eldorado (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Grade: Senior
Event(s): Hurdles/jumps
Height: 5-foot-10

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Okoye won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.82 seconds, the triple jump with a leap of 38 feet, seven inches and the long jump (18 feet, nine and three quarter inches) this spring, leading the Eagles to a second-place finish as a team at the Class 5A state meet. Also the 2011-12 Gatorade New Mexico Girls Basketball Player of the Year, she was the top New Mexico competitor at the Great Southwest Classic, earning fourth place in the triple jump with a leap of 37 feet, seven and one quarter inches and fifth place in the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.84. Her triple jump leap at the state meet ranked as the nation’s No. 61 mark by a prep competitor at the time of her selection.

Academic excellence: Okoye has maintained a 3.75 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally on behalf of Habitat for Humanity and an area food bank.

THE PRAISE

“Gina Okoye is an exceptional athlete in the state of New Mexico,” said Tim Flores, head coach at Cleveland (Rio Rancho, N.M.). “The scary thing is that she is just starting to realize how good she can be in track and field. She took it to another level this year and just kept getting better and better.”

THE FUTURE: Okoye has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at Weber State University this fall.