The Echo

Senior earns All-American status

Dedefo finds success at nationals

WIlliam Phelan

Used with written permission from Abati Dedefo
Senior Abati Dedefo competes in the open 1500 meter finals at the USATF National Junior Olympic Meet in Lawrence, Kansas on July 28. Abati finished the race in seventh place with a time of 4:06.78.

On June 24, the Park Flyers Track and Field Team took a select group of qualifying athletes to the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Lawrence, Kansas.

According to Park Flyers distance coach Ben Jacobs, the meet is a good way for the athletes to get closer with each other.

“I think it was a great experience for all members of the team. They really had a fun time with it and made the most of the opportunity to live with their teammates for a few days and form bonds with them,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said despite the importance of the meet, the athletes prepared for it just like any other meet.

“We work hard in practice every day, so a big meet like nationals does not really change much about what we do,” Jacobs said. “I try to avoid putting too much pressure on the athletes and just let them perform.”

Senior Abati Dedefo, who participated in the meet, said he went through numerous competitions in order to qualify for nationals.

“First I qualified for the regional meet by doing well at the state meet in both the 800 meters and 1500 meters. Then at regionals, I ran the 1500 in 4:07 which was enough to qualify for the national championships in Kansas,” Dedefo said.

Dedefo said he performed well at the national meet.

“I ran my 1500 in 4:05 at nationals, which I was satisfied with because it is my personal record,” Dedefo said.

However, Dedefo said he did not run the race exactly as he planned to.

“I did pretty well, but my first few laps were above the pace I wanted to run,” Dedefo said. “I wish I could have slowed down a little and ran a more controlled race.”

According to Dedefo, he is pleased with how he finished his 1500 meter run in Lawrence.

“My favorite memory from the meet was during the 1500. At the bell lap, I was in second to last,” Dedefo said. “By the last 100 meters, I had come all the way back to seventh place. I will never forget that feeling, because it was the hardest race of my life and it was so rewarding.”

Jacobs said he believes Dedefo had an exceptional performance at nationals in the 1500 meters.

“(Abati) had a great qualifying race, and then came back and beat his qualifying time in the finals,” Jacobs said. “We are very proud of how he ran this weekend.”

According to Jacobs, Dedefo’s All-American status is a significant accomplishment for the senior.

“For him to finish in seventh place in the 1500, which qualifies him as an All-American, is really just a testament to his hard work,” Jacobs said. “Abati is always asking what else he can do to get better and putting in extra miles after our standard practices, and we are so glad to see his work paying off in this way.”

Dedefo said he looks forward to nationals next year, but returning will not come without hard work.

“Between now and nationals next year, I will have to continue the intensity of my training sessions, as well as run in a few challenging meets to sharpen my racing strategy and mentality,” Dedefo said.


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1 Comment

One Response to “Senior earns All-American status”

  1. Tariku G Bashenu on September 13th, 2017 5:30 pm

    Proud of you Abati! Way to go. Believe in yourself, heads up and move forward.


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Senior earns All-American status