Shock and modesty were the initial reactions of two Ohio State track athletes after earning Big Ten Athletes of the Week honors.
“I am very humbled,” senior sprinter Chesna Sykes said. “I am not one to want to be in the forefront or one that wants the attention. Everybody on this team works hard every day and produces results, so for me, I’m just trying to make sure I do my part.”
The award — given to both Sykes and fellow senior sprinter and hurdler Demoye Bogle Jan. 13 — is the first time Sykes has won the award outright. At the Buckeye Classic home opener Jan. 10, Sykes took first in both the 60-meter dash and 200-meter dash. Her 60-meter dash time at the Buckeye Classic, 7.35 seconds, is tied for second best in the nation as of Jan. 13.
“Chesna has the ability to run with the fastest in the nation,” OSU women’s coach Karen Dennis said. “That’s where she sees herself and she has been working hard to get herself there — to get to nationals and get on the podium.”
Dennis said she has been watching Sykes since she was in the eighth grade and always knew she would develop into a Division I athlete. Dennis said she was thrilled when Sykes decided to further her track career at OSU because of the passion and encouragement she would bring to the team.
“She is a leader, she is probably the smallest. You’ll see she is just tiny … every bit but 5-foot-2 maybe 97 pounds, but she takes stake in this program,” Dennis said. “She wants not only (for) herself to do well but this team to do well. Her spirit and her attitude reflect that as she works hard and encourages her team every day in practice.”
The men’s track team also captured a Big Ten Athlete of the Week that same day, as Bogle was recognized for his time of 7.65 in the 60-meter hurdles at the Buckeye Classic. Bogle’s time broke his own school record, and sits at the top in the nation.
“This is my first time getting an award so I was just shocked and appreciative,” Bogle said.
Bogle said preseason conditioning was very rigorous, but he pushed himself because he was going into his senior season and had high hopes for himself and his teammates.
Bogle surpassed the expectation he set for himself and the coaches had set for him.
“We have never opened that fast,” OSU men’s coach Ed Beathea said on Bogle’s start to the indoor season.
Beathea said the team typically has two types of leaders: guys who are very vocal and guys who show up every day focused and work hard. He said Bogle falls under the latter category.
“Demoye isn’t going to be a cheerleader, but he is going to come in and want to get something done every day,” Beathea said. “If you train with him, chances are you are probably going to get something done every day so in that way he is a leader.”
Beathea said what is remarkable about Bogle is that he never ran a hurdle event until his senior year of high school, so he is competing against guys who have twice as many hurdling reps as him, yet he is still the fastest in the country.
“He will leave here having been one of the best hurdlers that we have ever had go through Ohio State and that is saying something,” Beathea said.
Sykes’ goal is to be running in the 2016 Olympics, and Bogle has professional aspirations after OSU as well.
“Hopefully, if God gives me the chance to go pro or a glimpse at that life, I would gladly take it and be appreciative of that experience,” Bogle said.
The women’s team is off this weekend but the men’s team is set to run in Bloomington, Ind., for the Indiana Relays Friday.