Waubonsie’s Akinosun sprints to national titlesWaubonsie Valley's Akinosun Morolake finishes up the 100 meter dash in a sectional meet at Naperville North High School on Friday, May 13, 2011. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
It may have been a disappointing spring, but it was a splendid summer for Morolake Akinosun.
The talented Waubonsie Valley sprinter capped it recently by winning national titles in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes in her age group — young women, ages 17-18 — at the AAU National Junior Olympics in steamy New Orleans.
Akinosun, who is about to start her senior year, won the 100-meter dash in 11.62 seconds after posting a time of 11.42 in the semifinals.
“That was crazy,” said her Aurora Flyers summer coach Tom Boatright of the semifinal time, less than a tenth of a second off the national record.
She then ran a record-setting time of 23.49 in her 200 semifinal and came back to win the final in 23.73.
“I’m probably happier with the 200 than the 100,” said Akinosun. “The 200 is the favorite because a I set a record and it made up for the frustration of not making it to state (in the 200) this (past) season.”
Akinosun hoped to reach state her junior year in the 100, 200 and 400 but was limited by a tender hamstring and made it only in the 100 and 400. She finished second in the 100 at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston back in May but had to scratch from the longer sprint because of the ailing leg muscle.
“Since the end of school I’ve just spent a lot of time strengthening it,” said Akinosun. “I’m just glad it wasn’t bothering me (last week).”
Akinosun was part of another national record, too. The Flyers’ young women 400 relay that included Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza, Schaumburg’s Emily D’Amico and Bolingbrook’s Kimberly Azie ran a 45.32 in the semifinals to break the national standard of 45.58.
“They didn’t place in the finals, though, because we had a dropped stick,” said Boatright.
How good was that group?
In the 100-meter finals, not only did Akinosun win, Kwaza took fifth and D’Amico sixth.
Akinosun wrapped up her splendid week by joining the Flyers’ 1,600 relay that finished eighth. It included North Aurora’s Cynthia Smith, DeKalb’s Jaylaan Slaughter and Kwaza.
The Flyers had one other national champion, Courtney Morgan. The midget division (age 12) thrower won the discus with a throw of 106 feet, 7 inches and took second in the shot put with a toss of 38-4.25.
Akinosun now is being courted by collegiate recruiters from far and wide. UCLA, Clemson, Iowa, Penn State, Texas A&M and Florida are all interested in signing the Aurora standout.
“After Sept. 1, I’ll probably start scheduling some official visits,” said Akinosun. “I’ll probably take all five that I’m allowed and maybe even take some unofficials on my own.”
Older sister Moriyke just completed her freshman year at the University of Illinois but it doesn’t sound like the Illini are in Morolake’s plans.
“I’m pretty sure I want to go somewhere warm,” she said. “I can’t sign until February, but I think I’ll commit before the end of this year.”