Salute To Seniors: Dapo Akinmoladun - Grandview
What was your most memorable race?
My most memorable race was last year at state in the 110's. I was considered the favorite and I thought winning was going to be guaranteed. I do not believe I had lost in the 110's all year, and when I did lose in the finals it really humbled me. I would not have had as good of a senior year if not for that moment. That race stuck with me the entire season and really motivated me to become a better competitor.
Who was your biggest competition?
The biggest competition I have faced is Ezekiel Elliot of course. Elliot is a phenomenal athlete and competes very well. He has been my greatest rival and one of my best teachers over the past two years. No matter who won between us the races we had taught me how to become a better runner.
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
If I could change my high school running career I would have went to camps and clinics to improve my ability. Fortunately our sprint coach, Russell Dotson, keeps up on his track education and always imparted new knowledge to all of our athletes. It really made a huge difference in our performance.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
The most difficult obstacle I had to face was injury. After taking 4th at state my freshman year in the 110's I pulled my hamstring at one of the first meets the following year. The trainer from Blue Springs South said I probably would not be able to compete for the rest of the season and that really took a toll on me. I came back with a huge limp, terrible running form, and a lot of self doubt. My coaches and our trainer taught me how to run again from the ground up, and also restored the confidence I needed to come back and compete. It was very frustrating for myself and them as well, but despite all of those factors I made it to state and did not place. That year was such a huge blessing because it really taught me about patience and humility. That trial also fueled my hunger to win as well.
What will you miss the most?
I will most definitely miss my teammates the most. Those guys and gals were like my family, and they taught me so much about being a leader. Many people get so caught up in the individual aspect of track and field that they do not get the opportunity to fully experience the better team side of the sport. Everyone on the team helped each other to become the best that they could, and the amount of kids who made it to Jefferson City reflected our hard-work and determination. They are not only great athletes but awesome students and leaders as well. I would not trade them for anything.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
My advice to other athletes would be to study your event, master it, and compete to the best of your ability. Do not leave any room for regret, trust yourself and your training. Sports are all about having fun and meeting new people so be friendly to one another. Most Importantly, all of your friends, teammates, and family are already proud of you no matter how well you do so do not be afraid of letting anyone down.
What are your college plans?
I will be running track and field at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln under coach Billy Maxwell. Also I will be majoring in biochemistry and minoring in spanish.
Who would you like to say thank you to?
I would like to thank God all the glory goes to him (Romans 12:36). My family has been the greatest part of my support system every single one (Dad, Mom, Keji, Dayo, Femi, Ayo, Duro, Wale, Taylor, and Andrea). I would also like to thank all of my teammates for pushing me to become a better athlete and person. I have had awesome coaches and I would like to thank Andy Leech for always weathering my mental storms and keeping me confident, Russell Dotson for always believing in me and looking out for my welfare, David Green for introducing me to hurdling in the first place, and all the other coaches who have aided me in becoming a better athlete. Last, but not least, the Grandview community and Grandview High School. Thank you so much everyone for your love and support.
Dapo's Athlete Profile
2012 College Signings
Want to be featured in our Salute To Seniors series? Email PEverett@milesplit.com and answer the questions above! Congratulations to the class of 2012 on all their hard work and success.