A few weeks ago I spoke with Pinole Valley High School senior Wopamo Osaisai, who Cardinalmaniacs™ all know well by know. He's the all-world track athlete across the Bay with speed to burn, and Stanford is blessed to have signed him last month as a key cornerback in the 2004 class. While most Stanford signees have their senior year of football behind them, and several have already wrapped up a basketball season to boot, Osaisai is just getting warmed up for the red-hot track season this spring and summer. But when Osaisai told me that he was having some pain and problems in his back and legs a few weeks ago, with a curious diagnosis, I thought he might be derailed from his senior season in the starting blocks.
His stride has been just a little longer in one leg than the other this year, and the Pinole (CA) student-athlete has been fighting some pain around his left knee and parts of his thigh. When he went to see a doctor, he was met with a startling diagnosis. The high school senior was hitting another growth spurt, he was told.
When Osaisai told me this, I gave a double-take. Imagine the lip-licking and dreams of Stanford fans when they envision a 6'2" or 6'3" lockdown corner with 4.3 speed. The news was too good to be true. I sat on it for a little while...
... And it's a good thing. Osaisai got a second opinion and found a much more reasonable diagnosis from a chiropractor. Turns out he has his hip out of alignment, which has affected his spine and in turn made one leg a little longer to the ground than the other. This problem traces back to last summer in Miami, when the speedster was running at the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics and did some stretching with another coach on site. The stretching exercise jacked up his hip and spine, and he has been lopsided ever since. The fact that he had such a good football season, despite the pain, and that he has run some good times early this winter in track, is amazing.
But now he is on the road to better health with some bone-jarring (literally) treatments from the chiropractor. On the doctor's orders, Osaisai did not run for a month but a week ago returned to the track for a nervous return. The meet was the famed K-Bell (Kiwanis-Bellarmine) Track Invite in Los Gatos. Osaisai was just hoping to run smoothly and safely, to get back in a groove after his long layoff. Instead, he ran the best time in California this year.
The 2004 Cardinal commit took 1st place with a 10.67 in the 100m, which is the best time in California prep track this year. He also took 1st place in the 200m with a 21.93 second time. His personal best in the 100m last year was a 10.66, and to run a 10.67 in March after such a layoff is fantastic.
"I'm really pleased with that after running for the first time in a month," he reports. "I was sore afterward - my hamstring and my quad. But it's cool. I expect that."
With new stretching exercises and a fast start to the spring, Osaisai will next run at the Stanford Track & Field Invitational. This is an event for both college and high school kids, and the opportunity to run on his future home campus is a very big deal to the young man. He knows that he will have peers and coaches in the stands watching, as well as many members of the Stanford fanbase. The event will also showcase some of the best talents in California, including Skyline's Kenny O'Neal and North Salinas' Ronnie Drummer.
Osaisai will run the 100m and the 4x100m relay. For the 100m individual, look for him in the qualifying heat Friday afternoon and then Saturday in the finals, should he run one of the nine fastest times. There is nothing more he would like than to put on a big show and make a big statement on The Farm.
"I'm going to be running a lot faster this year," he proclaims. "And I want to shine for everyone at Stanford to see."
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