Ogbogu slams home state, national recognition

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By Tanner McCord
Sports Writer

One Class 5A state championship is already quite a feat, but two in a row is downright impressive. One common denominator and dominator of both tournaments is senior Chiaka Ogbogu.

The 6-1 senior middle blocker ended the 2012 season with an incredible 486 kills and 144 blocks and a hitter of the year award from LoneStar Volleyball, not to mention the team as a whole winning the team of the year award for LoneStar as well. Immediately following the state championship, Ogbogu as well as her teammates, senior right side hitter Erica Bohannon and sophomore setter Kylie Pickrell, were name to the All-State volleyball first team.

Not only is she recognized throughout Texas, Ogbogu is the winner for the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year. Fifty athletes were chosen for this award, one per state, and then there is a national award for the overall player of the year for which Ogbogu was a finalist.

“Anyone can win [the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year], so it was really cool that I got the opportunity to be a part of that,” Ogbogu said.

On top of her national success, Ogbogu was chosen to be a part of the All-American tournament, where again she made first team. The tournament took place in Kentucky over three days starting Dec. 14 and while she was there, Ogbogu got the opportunity to watch the final four tournament where her future school, the University of Texas took home the first place trophy.

Despite her success on the court and national recognition, Ogbogu never put herself above others and played selflessly to benefit her team, not for her own personal satisfaction.

“Chiaka solely wants the team to win,” head volleyball coach Julie Green said. “She doesn’t care about stats or what spot she’s playing in. She just wants to win, so she puts her focus towards the team goal.”

Due to her focus and her teammates’ focus, the ultimate goal has been accomplished.

“It’s just incredible getting to play with someone who is so good and has such a bright future,” Bohannon said.

Bohannon has also played with Ogbogu outside of high school on the club volleyball team Texas Advantage (TAV).

“With our club team last year we got second in the nation, and the year before that got fifth,” Bohannon said.

At the Feb. 8 pep rally, the 2012 volleyball team was recognized by the nationally recognized website Maxpreps as the No. 1 team in the nation. Maxpreps.com is a national database of high schools all over America that contains the sports each high school plays and the teams’ stats, as well as individual players and their stats. Every single school was ranked out of strength of schedule, games played and several other stats and statistically, the Coppell Cowgirl volleyball team was superior to every one of the 16,000 teams registered on Maxpreps.

Team play is extremely important, and as Green said, it is Ogbogu’s main focus. Her intentions on the court are not to further herself but for the sake of the team. The awards and accolades that came with her success were simply a result of her raw athleticism and drive for success.

“I’m basically getting recognized for something that I love doing anyways,” Ogbogu said.