July 1, 2016
Vanderbilt track standout Jennifer Edobi has made a big impact during her career with the Commodores. Now, she is looking to do the same on an even bigger stage.
Edobi is headed to Sapele, Nigeria, to participate in the Olympic Trials. Edobi, a rising junior at Vanderbilt, will compete on July 7 and 8 with hopes of making the Nigerian national team that will complete in Rio de Janeiro.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for Jenn,” said Vanderbilt assistant coach Donnie Young. “She is in the unique position of having dual citizenship with the U.S. and Nigeria and to be able to have an opportunity to compete at the Nigerian trials is pretty special. We’ve been training hard the last month and Jenn has progressed very well.”
Edobi, a standout in the 400-meter dash, is one of two Vanderbilt athletes to earn an invite to the trials this summer. Triple jumper Simone Charley is traveling to Eugene, Ore., to compete in the US Olympic Trials next week.
“This opportunity is great for Jenn, a real learning experience for a young athlete, and great for our program,” said head coach Steve Keith. “We’re very happy that we can help any way possible.”
Edobi holds the No. 2 mark on Vanderbilt’s all-time list in the 400 for both outdoor (53.33) and indoor (54.00). She is also the school record holder in the indoor 500 with a time of 1:13.66, and was a member of the 4×200 outdoor relay team that set the school record last season.
“Jenn just has that inner drive to be successful in life,” said Young. “She does a good job of not letting distractions get in the way of her goals.”
Young said he seen Edobi mature as an athlete during her career at Vanderbilt.
“Jenn’s biggest growth has been learning how to race properly,” said Young. “Jenn has a big engine and she’s a strength runner. When she was younger she would just take off 100 miles per hour and try to hold on. At this level you can’t race like that. This season she has more races under her belt and she’s learning how to run the 400 meters properly. It’s a learning curve but we’re getting there.”
Edobi represented Nigeria at the World Juniors in 2014, and Keith thinks that experience will be a big benefit at the trials.
“Representing Nigeria at the World Juniors in 2014 was one step and now this is the next step in her development,” said Keith. “You can’t put a price on these type of experiences.”
Edobi set a new school indoor record by posting a time of 1:13.66 in the 500-meter run at the Armory Collegiate Invitational. She also posted the third-best mark in school history in the 200 meters with a personal-best time of 24.74 and was a member of Vanderbilt’s DMR team that set the No. 1 mark on Vanderbilt’s all-time list.