Okoro sisters claim winners circle at Drake Relays


Photo: Jonathan Krueger/Iowa Sta

Senior Eseroghene Okoro crosses the finish line first in her heat of the women’s 400-meter hurdles race at the Drake Relays on April 27, 2013, at Drake Stadium. Okoro won her heat and the race with the time of 57.43.

Isaac Copley

DES MOINES — Ese Okoro set a new personal record in the 400-meter hurdles, finished first and joined her sister Ejiro with a Drake Relays flag of her own.

After clipping the first hurdle with her left foot, Ese regained her form and stormed to the front of the group early in the race. Ese finished with a time of 57.43, giving her the 10th-best time in the 400-meter hurdles in the nation.

“It feels good; I’ve been struggling with my stride progression, so it’s good that I got it down before the Big 12s,” Ese said.

Ejiro anchored the Cyclones’ first-place finish in the 4×1 and 600-meter relay on Thursday, April 25, 2013, winning the event at Drake for the first time in ISU history.

“Everyone did really well,” Ejiro said. “It was good to get the win; I didn’t want to let any of these ladies down.”

At the Drake Relays in 2012, Ese finished as the runner-up in the 400-meter hurdles and is happy to have finally earned a Drake Relays flag. With her sister cheering her on, Ese was able to overcome a slow start to win in convincing fashion.

“It was really good, a twin thing, had to get a flag. [Ejiro] would give me a hard time if I didn’t,” Ese said with a laugh.

The season has been a little shaky, Ese said, because of the weather and the inability to train outside. With the Big 12 Championships coming up next weekend, she is ready to take the next step.

“Last year was a stepping stone to this year, so it’s nice to be able to work on what I did last year and bring it to this season,” Ese said. “I need to believe in my stride progression and just go over the hurdles; they aren’t going anywhere.”