It”s home, sweet home for Ike Okenwa.
The junior sprinter will travel with eight other members of the Michigan men”s track team this weekend to Okenwa”s home city of San Diego, for the Aztec Invitational.
Okenwa, who recently competed in the indoor track NCAA Championships for the 200-meter dash, looks forward to competing in the familiar conditions he had as a high school athlete.
“My first year (at Michigan) I had my hat, gloves and winter coat out in November,” Okenwa said. “After a while you just get used to it you don”t go outside unless you have to.”
But staying inside throughout the Michigan winter is detrimental to some athletes.
Assistant coach Fred LaPlante said javelin thrower Andy Derr can practice throwing steady javelins into a net while indoors, but the simulation takes time to adjust once outdoors.
“It”s the same thing with the 400-meter hurdles,” LaPlante said. “We”ve been doing some drills (indoors), but they”ll be a bit rusty.”
Derek Applewhite, who is coming off of an injury from the indoor season, will join teammates Josh Sellers and Andrew Oaks in the 400-meter hurdles, while Chris Yee, Anthony Beal, Tony Wishart, Ravi Smith and Okenwa will all compete in the 200- and 400-meter dashes. Derr is the Wolverines” lone representative in the javelin.
LaPlante said the meet is more like a workout for Michigan than a competition.
“Training wise, we”re on par with any other team competition wise is where we”re rusty,” LaPlante said.
While back in familiar territory, Okenwa also hopes to provide an example for high school recruits in the area.
“I”m just showing these younger guys from San Diego that you can survive in the Arctic,” Okenwa said.