Osaisai Grabs Jr. Olympic Bronze

Stanford fans have been thirsting for top-flight speed at the cornerback position, and this 2004 class is a critical time to lands several of those elite CBs. None have better speed than Pinole (CA) track standout <b>Wopamo Osaisai</b>, who just ran 3rd in the 100 meter dash at the USATF Junior Olympics. Though he'll tell you he could and should have done far better.

With football camps in the rearview mirror, and August training camps at their high schools just about to get warmed up, most of the football recruits we follow for you at The Bootleg have taken it easy these last few weeks.  A calm before the storm, if you will.  But not East Bay speedster standout Wopamo Osaisai, who has just concluded his summer track season with a medal performance at the USA Track & Field National Junior Olympics in Miami, Florida.

Osaisai qualified in both the 100 meter and 200 meter events with eye-catching times run in his local and regional qualifiers in California, but he was aiming to drop his times even lower for this nationally prominent competition.  However a pair of unforeseen events derailed his highest aspirations.

In running a qualifying heat in the 200, Osaisai ran a poor time and failed to qualify for the finals.  He explains what had happened previous to the race.  "I guess it rains a lot in Miami, and there were showers almost every afternoon," he begins.  "One of the first times it rained I was trying to locate my coach and I couldn't find him.  I wound up getting drenched before I could get to a car to get out of the rain.  And when you get drenched like that, it's a lot like your body swimming.  It fatigues your muscles, so I didn't make the finals.

The 100 m qualifier went much better, with the Pinole Valley HS standout recording the best time of his age group in any race at the Junior Olympics.  His 10.67 was not even a personal best, but it was better than any qualifying heat or finals time at the event.  "Once I was winning, I let up and decided to save it for the finals.  I could have run a faster time but didn't see the point," he comments.  But trouble would strike in the finals.

The final 100 m race for the young men's division got off to a rocky start with one of the contestants committing a false start.  That takes a little something out of all the contestants, but it was an individual mistake that would cost the football/track dual-athlete his golden dream.  "If the starting blocks slip on you when you start, you can flag the officials and they will restart the race," Osaisai educates us.  "I was actually the fastest guy out of the blocks on our second start, after that false start, but the blocks slipped and I lost my balance.  The officials would have called us back had I done something, but at that split second I thought I would beat them anyway.  I was maybe too arrogant, and that's an unfortunate mistake I made that I'll have to live with.  I would have won the race really easily."

Osaisai ran a 10.76, good enough for third place and a bronze medal, with the gold taken by a 10.70 performance.  The times were obviously not up to the world class standards that you might expect.  The Stanford cornerback recruit has two theories on the disappointing showings:

"I should have been running a 10.4 or a 10.5," he admits.  "But it hurt that a lot of the kids I knew didn't show up.  There were like four or five of the top 10 that dropped out.  That 10.76 was good for third here, but got me seventh at the state finals.  Also it rained too much in the afternoons.  And the organizers would let guys run through it - they wouldn't call races until there was thunder and lightning.  That's too bad because it was a fast track."

"It was fun, still, because I got to meet people from other states that I had heard of," he cheers up.  "It's just disappointing how I performed.  But it wasn't an experience I regret at all.  It was a great honor to be there with all those top athletes."

Shortly before he left for Miami, Osaisai was involved in some Stanford recruiting that he shared.  He met up with fellow Cardinal recruits Alex Fletcher, C.J. Bacher, Brandon Robinson and Austin Collie the Monday before his trip.  They all spent a day on The Farm, watching the current players lift and workout.  The five recruits also met with Stanford coaches and a professor.  The day was a big hit and helped to affirm the heavy lean for all five toward Stanford.

"It was cool to get to establish relationships with people who could be my future teammates," Osaisai opines.  "Otherwise starting off at college could be a little lonely.  You  know, you could feel isolated if you don't know the other guys in your class.  But I felt like I fit right in with these guys.  It reaffirmed our feelings about Stanford, which we all talked about."

Since our last report, Osaisai has not been able to take phone calls from coaches, given that the next calling period begins September 1.  But he notes that new letters are coming from Kansas State and Arizona State.  He says that Stanford still is his leader, though, and his current focus is on the admissions application.

"I thought I had my part of the application done before I left for Miami, but then my mom decided I should take more time to look it over," the earnest student-athlete says.  "So my plan is to finish with the essays this week and have that to the coaches by next week.  Although the timing doesn't matter that much because I can't get in my recommendations yet.  There were budget cuts that resulted in layoffs at my school with the Principal and some counselors.  Plus people are on vacation right now, so I won't be able to get those in until September.  And that means I won't hear back a decision until October."

After cleans his hands of his parts of the Stanford application, Osaisai will only have a short rest before he begins camp with his Pinole Valley teammates for his senior season.  Their first game is September 12 at Kennedy HS (Sacramento).  Other big games will include Berkeley High, Oakland Tech and Monte Vista.

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