Senior commits to run collegiate track

Abati Dedefo to attend University of Sioux Falls


Rachel Salzer

Senior Abati Dedefo attends track practice April 23. Dedefo will be attending the University of Sioux Falls next year running collegiate track.

Nicole Sanford

Senior Abati Dedefo said while being a multi-sport athlete as a track runner and soccer player, he chose to continue running track at the collegiate level because he believes it offers him the most potential.

“To be honest, I grew up playing soccer, and soccer is fun, (but) then I just decided to (talk) to my parents, and then my coaches and try to go from there,” Dedefo said. “But I think I’m good at track instead of soccer, so that’s why I chose track.”

Assistant coach Chris Nordstrom said the strengths Dedefo has acquired over his three years on the track team will only grow from here.

“I definitely think he’s come into his work ethic and really figured out what his potential is. The sky is still the limit, I don’t think he’s reached all his strengths yet — he’s going to continue to get better as he goes on and goes to college,” Nordstrom said. “He’s just

 going to continue to progress further than he is now.”

Dedefo said he committed to the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota. Dedefo said he anticipates working hard at the collegiate level to keep up with his peers.

“I’m looking forward to running in college and then getting into good meets and then just (trying) to keep up with the guys and work as hard as I can,” Dedefo said. “I feel like in high school you don’t do as much work as you do in college.”

According to Nordstrom, while Dedefo is a strong runner, competing against talented athletes at the collegiate level will challenge him in new ways.

“He’s going to a school that has a really good middle distance (and) distance program, and right off the bat he probably won’t be their number one guy,” Nordstrom said. “(Getting) used to that role and embracing being around others who are better and going to push him to get better (will) definitely be a change.”

Dedefo said he enjoys both the difficult and easy-going aspects of the sport.

“I’ve been running for four years now (and) my favorite thing about running is always working and then having fun as a team and then just try to enjoy the rest,” Dedefo said.

Nordstrom said Dedefo has shown tremendous improvement since day one on the team.

“I think it took a little bit of time for him to figure out what it takes to get to that next level, and once he figured that out and his potential and how hard you have to work, that’s when we saw him break through and take it to the next level,” Nordstrom said. “So that’s one of his strengths now, and it’s something he had to work through to get to where he’s at too.”

According to Nordstrom, Dedefo’s influence on the team will not be forgotten.

“He’s had a very positive impact (on the team),” Nordstrom said. “He’s come a long way. (He’s) super positive, works hard, (is a) regular attendee, and a lot of the kids like him, look up to him, and he’s come a long way as being a leader as well. It’s definitely been a blessing to have him on the team.”