While looking ahead to the indoor track season, it wasn’t surprising that Chibugo Obichere pulled out an analogy from her other winter sport: basketball.
“At half, if your team is up 10 points, they think ‘oh, we’ve won,’ ” Obichere, who runs track and plays basketball for Valley Stream South, said. “I think I’ve learned from basketball that when you come back, past performance doesn’t matter. You just have to come out and be ready to win every single time. You can’t rely on those past championships. You have to focus on what you’re doing right then.”
Obichere knows about championships. The senior is the two-time defending state public school indoor 55-meter hurdles champion. This year, she’s looking to clear that final hurdle — a Federation title.
She was close last year. A clip of the hurdles late in March’s state Federation championship landed Obichere second in 8.19 seconds. She rebounded a week later, running a converted 7.98 in the Emerging Elite race at the New Balance Indoor Nationals.
“When it first happened, it definitely bothered me because I knew that I could have gotten a Federation title and I really wanted to do it,” Obichere said of the clipped hurdle. “But, I’m not the kind of person to dwell on mistakes.”
This year, Obichere hopes to consistently run sub-eight seconds and finally take home the Federation title. She’s as determined as she’s ever been, committing to consistent and rigorous fall training by running with the cross country team — something she hadn’t done in previous years.
Obichere was not officially on the cross country squad, leaving the distance competition to her indoor and outdoor teammates, but she worked out with them during the week, running up to three miles at a time at a conditioning pace.
“I’ve done the hurdles for a long time and we’re looking for more things that I could do better in,” Obichere said. “More training will make for better 300 and 400 times, and lead to other things so that I’m not just a 55 and 100-meter hurdler.”
So far, the extra training appears to be working. Obichere said that she’s felt fresher in the season’s opening two weeks. She ran a meet-record 8.19, the same time she ran en route to her public school state title last season, at the North Shore High School Season Opener on Nov. 30 at the Armory in Manhattan.
“I feel like I’m ahead of the game,” Obichere said. “In other years, when winter track started, I’d have to have two weeks of conditioning and whatnot. Going over the hurdles wouldn’t be as smooth and I’d have to take some time to get used to it again. But, as soon as winter track started [this year], I was going through the hurdles in a workout.”
She hopes that the longer training period leads to bigger and better things.
TOP 10 GIRLS TRACK TEAMS
1. Valley Stream South
3. St. Anthony’s
6. North Shore
8. Valley Stream North
10. West Babylon