Jumping ahead: Alumna sets sights on Olympics

Jumping ahead: Alumna sets sights on Olympics

Cal State L.A. alumna Omonike Kotey ‘08 has been taking leaps of faith for years.

A track competitor since the time she was eight, Kotey has earned several All-American honors and titles for her long and triple jumps at the high school and collegiate level. She also has aspirations to compete in the 2012 Olympics in London.

But, this competitor didn’t stick her longest — and most hard sought jump, as she describes it — until last spring, at the 2008 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field National Championships. There Kotey soared to a season’s best of 40 feet, 1 ¼ inches in the triple jump, earning an individual national championship title.

Omonike Kotey long jumps

“I cried,” said Kotey, who now works in a girls’ group home in Fullerton. “I went to get my award and I was shaking. I was just in awe. It was such a great feeling.”

Kotey said that earning a national championship title was an achievement she had dreamt about since she stepped onto campus. She came to CSULA from Saddleback College, after accepting an athletic scholarship from the University.

It’s Kotey’s commitment and her determination to succeed that made her successful both on and off the field at CSULA, coaches said. And those attributes have continued to serve her well as she made the jump from school to social work, and as she eyes possible master’s degree programs.

“Track has taught me a lot about discipline and determination,” Kotey said. “When I go for something, no matter what it is, I go for it all the way.”

In good company

Cal State L.A. boasts 25 Olympian alums -1 Bronze, 8 Silver and 10 Gold Medalists! And, an alumna modeled for the bronze by the L.A. Coliseum.

Their names are
  1. Mal Whitfield (USA), 1948, 1952
  2. George Brown (USA) 1952
  3. Jean Gaertner (USA) 1960
  4. Nii Addo Allotey (Ghana) 1964, 1968
  5. John Erik-Blomquist (Sweden) 1968
  6. Barbara Ferrell (USA) 1968, 1972
  7. Lennart Hedmark (Sweden) 1968, 1972, 1976
  8. Jarvis Scott (USA) 1968
  9. Vicki Betts (USA) 1976
  10. Rosalyn Bryant (USA) 1976
  11. Fred Dixon (USA) 1976, 1980
  12. Jackie Pusey (Jamaica) 1976
  13. Sharon Dabney (USA), 1980
  14. Denean Howard (USA) 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992
  15. Sherri Howard (USA) 1980, 1984, 1988
  16. Jennifer Inniss (Guyana) 1980, 1988
  17. Diane Williams (USA) 1980, 1984
  18. Marlene Wilcox (USA) 1980
  19. Sandra Farmer (Jamaica) 1984, 1992
  20. Lindel Hodge (Virgin Islands) 1984, 1988, 1992
  21. Zhu Jian-Hua (China) 1984, 1988
  22. Marie Rollins (Ireland) 1988
  23. Ruben Benitez (El Salvador) 1996
  24. Billie Jean King (USA) 1996, 2000 (coach)
  25. Louise Ayetotche (Ivory Coast) 2000