The average height of a doorway on campus is 6’8″. The tallest player on the Mines men’s basketball team is Clay Boatwright at 6’10”. If you stacked 150 career day guides, they would only reach 6’3″ into the sky and would still probably force you to apply for the job you want online. Yet none of that is any match for the leaping ability of junior Seun Ogunmodede, who recently broke a 28-year old school record clearing 6’11” in his first place finish two weeks ago in Boulder, Colorado. Just one inch under the seven foot barrier, the jump rates as Ogunmodede’s personal best and gives him the seventh-best jump in Division II in the entire nation.
This alone would be an enormous feat for any Division II track athlete, but there is one minor detail. Ogunmodede himself is only 5’11”. That means that in order to compete with his much taller competition, the junior from Castle Rock, Colorado must elevate his hips roughly 48 inches higher than they currently stand, just to clear the bar. Yet that does not deter Ogunmodede, who relishes the chance to compete against the more vertically gifted competition. “It’s all about technique,” said Ogunmodede. “I am usually the shortest there, but I like getting the chance to beat guys with long legs.”
For most athletes, such a record-breaking success would be enough. But for Ogunmodede, the story goes on. At that same meet in Boulder, he finished second in the triple jump, and his jump of 45’3.75″ currently stands as the second best in the RMAC. He is even toying with running in the 400 m, one of track’s most grueling contests. And that does not even begin to mention the fact that this all comes on the heels of a soccer season in which Ogunmodede helped lead the Orediggers to a top 20 finish in the nation for the third time in four years. But this is all normal for an Ogunmodede. Both of his parents grew up in Nigeria and used their natural abilities and hard work ethic to bring their family stateside. Ogunmodede’s father, tthe “smartest person” he knows did not have enough money to pay for high school, so he went to seminary instead. He then left for Iraq to get his undergraduate before earning a full-ride for his Master’s degree at RIT in New York. His mother is also academically gifted and after skipping several grades in early education is currently a registered nurse. Indeed, this couple has passed their traits on to their son, even if he refers to himself as “lazy.”
With the indoor track season just underway, many other record books need to be on the lookout for Seun Ogunmodede, who for his efforts, is this week’s Athlete of the Week.
[Oredigger] What do enjoy so much about high jump?
[Ogunmodede] I think what it is is just being able to land in the the foam, really. To be able to jump and then chill in a pit is just awesome. But also the attention that it brings. People want to watch high jump, even if you aren’t jumping the highest or have the biggest hops. It’s all about technique.
What is life like as a two-sport athlete?
It’s a lot, a lot, a lot of work. You have to prioritize when you practice each sport. And you have to have other people around you to support you. You can’t do it by yourself.
After three years of competing in two sports, how do you stay sharp and motivated?
It’s all about loving what you do. If you don’t love it and you’re not committed, you’re not going to be motivated. You get to show how much you are dedicated to the sport by how much time and effort you put in to be the best you can be. And then, it’s all about trying to be the best.
What is your least favorite workout?
The worst thing is the tire pulls up the hill. I did not like those at all. Oh, and lifting. I also don’t like lifting at all either.
What is your favorite workout?
It would probably have to be when my legs are dead and we just bound. I like bounding a lot.
If you could compete in one other event, what would it be?
It’s gotta be the 400. I am a lazy person, and those workouts would not be one of my fortes. But I feel like I could do well if I worked on my stamina. But man, the workouts are just a pain though.
Best part about Mines?
Mines is a really hard school, so the best part is having people around you that have gone through it and can help you. If I had to do it by myself, I would probably not be here right now. The wrestling team, the track team, the soccer team, all of them. I definitely need their help as much as I can try to help them.
Worst part about Mines?
Well, the classes are always rough, but it’s just the amount of work that you have to do that makes it so hard.
Favorite class you’ve taken so far?
Computer Programming, C++. I did work in that class, man.
Least favorite class?
Circuits. I do not like circuits. But I am taking feedback with thermo right now, so I could have a new one after this year.
What is the nerdiest thing you’ve done?
Once I dressed up as Urkel, that was pretty nerdy. And I played Super Smash all the time freshman year. Super Smash is my thing man. We played that all the time in Weaver my freshman year.
Nerdiest thing you have seen on campus?
Psh. That’s the easiest. It’s Humans vs. Zombies. But it’s really fun watching it though.
If you could redo your first three year’s at Mines, what advice would you give freshman Seun?
Go to the tutoring sessions. I never went in the beginning, so I would say go, regardless of how easy the stuff is.