One meet at a time. One event at a time. One inch at a time.
That is Audrey Gariepy-Bogui’s approach to track and field. That is how Audrey handles the frenzy of competing in the sprints, hurdles, and field events in a single meet. Today is the regional meet and today she will strive to run harder and jump higher than she ever has before. Only when the last event is completed and she is lying on her back in exhaustion will she begin to consider the state championship meet. That is when she will collect herself and refocus on the rest of the state. Likewise, that is when the rest of the state will pore over the task of how to beat “that Churchill girl,” Audrey Gariepy-Bogui.
Audrey was born and raised as a young child in French-speaking Ivory Coast. She moved to Bethesda for a brief period when she was 5 years old before moving to Senegal for her preteen years. She was always inclined to play sports, but never did any serious organized sports until moving to Potomac, Maryland and joining the Churchill High School volleyball team her sophomore year. She joined the track team later in the fall and tested out the hurdles almost immediately. She was not a point-scorer at first, and admits that her first several races were over 10 seconds for 55-meter hurdles. She kept at it while her coaches kept her on the roster as a developing athlete.
It was only in the spring of her sophomore year that she asked her coach if she could try out the high jump. It wasn’t until one of her teammates was injured that she was thrown into the triple jump. She cleared 4 feet 6 inches in the high jump and 42 feet in the triple jump. Her coaches decided to roll with it.
Audrey looks back on that first year as a learning experience. She learned all of the basics of the most technical events and returned the next indoor season with very specific goals in mind. If she had not caught the attention of track fans at the Montgomery Invitational, where she placed 6th in the hurdles and high jump, she did when she won four county titles at the indoor county championship. It was then that she became the athlete to beat in any event she competed in against Montgomery County competition.
Fourteen months, nine county titles, seven county records, and five state titles later, Audrey is being debated as perhaps the greatest female athlete to ever compete for a Montgomery County school. The most experienced coaches in the county admit that no one has been definitively better in high school, but to truly call her the greatest, only time will tell. Can she get even better in college? She certainly thinks she can.
Like all high school seniors, Audrey had some tough decisions to make over the past several months. With Division I letters and scholarship offers filling her mailbox, she had a very difficult time narrowing down the field to the few schools that would truly develop her full potential. The one school that really stood out to her was Villanova University, known for its outstanding academics and Division I athletics. Her eyes lit up when she saw how much Villanova track athletes improve between their freshman and senior years. She knew that her and head coach Anthony Williams were going to get along when he put no pressure on her to become a heptathlete. Although it was sad to tell other coaches no, the decision to attend Villanova was one that she was thrilled to make.
Follow your program and catch her if you can. If she’s not warming up or stretching, you might see her encouraging other competitors or joking around with friends on the infield. If you are looking the right way when it is her time to compete, then you will be one of the many fans who tell friends about the time that Audrey Gariepy-Bogui competed for Chuchill, and it was magnificent.