Snapping pictures with his closest friends, family and coaches in attendance, high jumper Daniel Oduah announced to the world – well, to the media center at Eastside High School – his decision to attend Albany State University.
Oduah said it was the close-knit family feel that influenced his decision to choose Albany State. He also added that it was Albany State who put forth great effort to have him jump for them.
Oduah’s coaches that were in attendance had nothing but good things to say about the signing and about Oduah. Head coach Frankey Iverson was a bit surprised when Oduah came to him and said he wanted to do the high jump.
“He came and talked to me and he said that he wanted to try high jump,” Iverson said. “I was like, ‘Well, you know you can’t practice it because we don’t have a pit.’ He said, ‘That’s fine. I just want to try it and see if I can do it.’”
When Oduah came on the field to ask coach if he could do high jump, they tested him, and he passed with flying colors.
“We went out there and he jumped,” Iverson said. “We started at five-four (five feet and four inches). He cleared the bar easily. We just told him to keep going up and eventually he got to six-six, which was a school record at that time.”
Showing his determination, Oduah failed at getting 6-6 the first time but was able to get it just after. He went on to jump 6-8 as his coaches watched in amazement. Oduah went on to jump 6-8 at his first track meet.
Because of budget constraints, Oduah was never able to actually practice the high jump like most competitors do.
“Preparation was just every time I go to the meet,” Oduah said. “Every time it was the real deal, that was my practice.”
Not being able to practice didn’t stop Oduah from winning the high jump championship at the Class-AAAAAA state meet almost two weeks ago.
Oduah was a two-sport athlete at Eastside, as he also played basketball. The six-foot-five forward almost averaged a double-double, averaging 7.8 points per game and 11.3 rebounds. Before trying the high jump, Oduah ran the 400 and he was a long jumper.
Being a two-sport athlete, Oduah said that participating in the high jump helped his work ethic, conditioning and being a better team player.
“If we had captains I think he would have become one,” Iverson said. “He was always the first one there, always worked the hardest, and he always pushed everyone else.”