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Udeme Elijah Usoro

School: Benson

Sports Played: Basketball, Track and Field

High School Honors: 4-year Track letter-winner, PIL champion in 100 & 200 meters sophomore through senior years; Oregon State 100-meter champion, junior (12.52) and senior (12.35). On 4x100 relay team, PIL and Oregon State champions all three years. 4-year basketball play, earned letters, junior and senior; played on PIL Championship teams of 1993 and 1994.

Post High School Career: Portland State University, BS in Accounting, Information Systems, and Quantitative Analysis. Wells Fargo Bank in Phoenix, AZ


Transitioning from a small Catholic school to a public high school is not easy. I wondered how I was going to adjust and make new friends. I decided to try out for basketball and thinking "YES!" this is it. I am going to fit in and meet more people.

Along the way came track coach Leon McKenzie. He was relentless about me trying out for the track team. I had never heard of Track and didn't even know you could participate in high school. After much pushing from Coach McKenzie, I decided to try out for the team. Best decision I ever made! Track was hard work but it was also so much fun and so rewarding! The self-confidence I gained is unmeasurable. I truly learned who I am from being on the track. Because of track, I traveled outside of the state of Oregon, I met some of the best people in the world, and I achieved so much personally and academically.

I couldn't have done it without some great teachers and coaches. As a first generation in the United States, I often felt alone and misunderstood. With the support of my coaches and teammates I was able to overcome those inadequacies.

Coach McKenzie is an amazing person who fostered my love for the sport, and John Mays and Del Gerber gave me the foundation to truly succeed at track and Dennis Carline and Sonora Thirdgill for basketball. I thank them for playing a part in the person I am today. Without their guidance, support, and input I wouldn't have made it through high school and had the drive to become a college graduate.

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