Bisi Ezekoye was positioning himself in the blocks for the 55-meter dash finals at the Maryland 3A State Championship. He glanced up for a moment to see every person in the field house on their feet, staring intently in his direction. He knew very well that the spectators were seeing right past him to the runner immediately to his left, Devon Smith of Westlake High School, who was advertised to be making an attempt on the national record. Anticipating that something special was about to happen, he had butterflies in his stomach. A part of him wanted to see Smith take down the record right in front of him, but he had goals of his own and knew what he had to do.
When the gun fired, Smith was immediately three steps ahead of everyone else and went on to win in 6.37, well short of the national record. Ezekoye got out of the blocks poorly and fell to the back. He finished a disappointing fifth in 6.62.
As he slowly walked back to the stands, his teammate Eddie Kamara pulled him aside and told him to hold his head up. Kamara reminded him that it wasn't the end of the road, and that he just finished out the indoor season as the 55-meter county and region champion as a junior. With that in mind, Ezekoye brushed off what he felt was a disappointing performance and turned his attention to the future.
Only a junior, Ezekoye is hoping to start off the outdoor season where he left off the indoor season. That means he will have a target placed on his back by those who want to dethrone him as the fastest man in Montgomery County. But to most local track and field fans, Bisi Ezekoye is just the name of somebody who caught everyone off guard this season. Many may be wondering who he is and where he came from.
Ezekoye is now at his third high school in three years. He originally enrolled at Plum High School in a suburb just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Having played football since he was four years old, he naturally joined the freshman football team at his high school. He was soon moved up to the junior varsity squad.
The high school track coach was a junior high school teacher who knew that Ezekoye was always one of the most athletic kids for his age. The coach suggested he give track a try.
Running track for the first time, he started off running the 200-meter dash indoors and was running on the varsity 4x200-meter relay right away. When outdoor track came around, he ran his first time trial in the 100-meter dash, clocking a hand-timed time of 11.4 in less than ideal conditions. That time trial was eye-opening to him because he knew the time was pretty quick and was surprised he had that in him.
He did not lose to anyone in district-level competition as a freshman and ended the season with a personal best time of 11.37 (FAT) in the 100.
That summer, he and his family decided he should transfer to Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, PA. Central Catholic has a reputation for having the very best academics and athletics around, and they felt that it would be the best place for him to get an education and graduate from. Unfortunately for him, Plum High School contested the transfer, claiming that he was transferring solely for athletic reasons, which is not allowed in Pennsylvania. This argument dragged on for months while he was forced to sit out the football season. In November, there was a hearing which deemed him eligible to participate in sports at Central Catholic.
One of his first experiences competing for Central Catholic was a hand-timed 55-meter dash where he was clocked in at 6.4. It was another eye-opening experience for him. He was beginning to realize his potential as a star track athlete.
He enjoyed his time at Central Catholic, saying that his team was "pretty stacked that year." He contributed to the team by winning several races and ended the outdoor season by placing 11th at the state meet in the 100-meter dash with a personal best time of 11.03.
That next summer, he worked out with the Central Catholic football team, fully intending to play for them in the fall. It was not until early August that he realized that his father would make a career move that would bring him and his family to the Washington D.C. area.
Initially, he attempted to enroll in a DC area Catholic school for the same reasons that he was attracted to Central Catholic in Pittsburgh. He had a desire to go to a school with the best possible academics and athletics, and he would have liked some Catholic influence in his education since his family is devoutly Catholic. Attempting to enroll at Good Counsel and DeMatha proved futile since early August was well past the enrollment deadline for those schools. His family was then attracted to Montgomery County and ultimately Kennedy High School where they felt he would receive a sufficient education.
He joined Kennedy's football team where he says things were pretty bad in the sense that their team had a final record of 2-8, but he still had some fun. At 6-foot, 179 pounds, he was at first the runningback and then was moved to quarterback. He made several big plays including a 99-yard touchdown run and an 84-yard touchdown run.
When track season rolled around, Ezekoye didn't know what to expect from competition in Maryland. He made goals based on time and just jumped right in.
At the Montgomery Invitational in January, he ran 6.67 in the prelims of the 55-meter dash. He was disappointed with the time and was shocked when he learned that he made the finals. In the finals, only three other athletes from Montgomery County were lined up adjacent to him and one was disqualified due to a false start. Avery Graham beat him convincingly, but he finished as the second athlete from Montgomery County in the race and began thinking that just maybe he could go after the individual county title.
He was bothered by a hamstring injury after the prelims of the 55-meter dash at the Montgomery County Championship Meet, but he qualified for the finals, stretched out the hamstring, and lined up to run the finals. He knew who Graham was at that point and knew that everyone in the field house expected Graham to dominate, but he ran his best and ended up winning in a personal best time of 6.53. He thought to himself: "Cool!"
Ezekoye went on to win the 55-meter regional title and place fifth at the state championship.
Outdoor track has now begun and Ezekoye is training to increase his endurance to be a more versatile athlete. In addition to the 100- and 200-meter dashes, he hopes to run some nice 400's and do the long jump. He has never seriously done the long jump or 400, but he believes he may be able to shock some people, particularly in the 400.
He has received some attention from college football recruiters and may soon receive some attention from college track coaches, too. When people ask him which route he is thinking about taking in the future, he responds that he just wants to get an education, and if football or track get him a free education, that will be the path he takes.