Playing it up on big stage
David Douglas senior Ihoghama Odighizuwa highlighted his final season with a state wrestling crown
David Douglas senior Ihoghama Odighizuwa knows the recipe for success with the main ingredient being hard work. No place did that stand out more than the wrestling room where a mix of blood, sweat and tears isnt so much a badge of honor as it is an expectation.
Hes one of our hardest workers in practice and he comes to everything whether its a summer camp, an open weight room, whatever it is he goes as hard as he can to perfect his craft, Scots wrestling coach Ron Holyoak said. Plus, hes so athletic that anything you show him, he can do it.
That work ethic led him to the 195-pound state wrestling title, and he made it look easy. During the Regional tournament all four of his matches ended with pins three of them not getting past the first two minutes. It was more of the same the following week at state where his first three bouts lasted a total of 2 minutes, 31 seconds.
He finished his perfect run with a fall in the championship bout, flattening Kyle Anderegg of Clackamas with :07 on the clock.
The Scots went on to win the team title, as well.
But that wasnt the end of Odihizuwas prep wrestling career.
In April, he traveled to Virginia Beach to take part in a national tournament. Several rounds into his bracket he faced the tourneys No. 8 seed it was time to prove where he stood among the best of the best.
So this other kid is in the process of taking him down and Ihoghama just flips it and puts him on his back, Holyoak said. His coach on the other side of the mat just put his hands up. There was no answer for it. Ihoghama was clearly the most athletic kid on the mat.
He went on to finish third in the 64-person national bracket.
Hes very fun to watch wrestle because hes going to go as hard as he can for the whole six minutes, Holyoak said. He cracked the varsity lineup as a sophomore and has just gotten better and better.
Odighizuwa finished his high school sports career with a splash this spring, earning silver medals in the triple jump and as a member of the 1,600 relay at the state track meet in Eugene. His 10 team points helped lift Douglas to a third-place team finish.
Hes a hard worker in the weight room and turned into a real team leader, Scots track coach Cameron Cross said. He comes every day and shows the other kids what it means to be a champion.
Odighizuwa also played linebacker during football season.
He is awaiting SAT results to determine whether he will qualify to wrestle next season at Boise State or spend the year at Clackamas Community College a national power on the junior college level.
Winners at our other East County schools...
Barlow Bethany Leliefeld
Gresham Melissa Smith
Reynolds Jazmyn Boyd-Clark
Centennial Michael McGuire
Corbett Simone Ballard
Portland Lutheran Kaitlin Howard
View brief profiles on those nominees in the June 7 print edition.