Aderonke Adeniyi is an example of what can be done with a little faith and inspiration.
It was just last year that the Nigerian native joined the track and field team and she made an immediate impact on its success.
Adeniyi was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Newcomer of the Year at the outdoor championships last year.
“She truly is a marvelous young woman,” Track coach George Phillips said.
“She came in as a true novice from the Temple rugby team.
She’s just a bright and intelligent young woman.”
Adeniyi, a junior biochemistry major, maintains a 3.8 grade point average.
After the conclusion of the indoor track season, Adeniyi was named the A-10 Indoor Track and Field Student-Athlete of the Year.
But success in both endeavors did not come easy for her.
“It can be very difficult,” Adeniyi said.
“Initially I was fine, but at one point it became very overwhelming and I actually had to talk to [an academic] counselor, Walter Holiday.
He sat me down and gave me a paper with the times, and said ‘fill everything out from your sleep to your class and lets see if you
can work with a schedule,’ and that’s been great.”
She credits the new organization method to her success on and off the track. Not only is organization important to her, but her faith in God and respect for her father.
Adeniyi was injured while playing rugby and her father felt she should quit the team due to her small build and the physical nature of the sport.
Track and field, he felt, would be a better sport for her to take up. Rather than go against her fathers’ wishes, Adeniyi joined the Temple track team.
“I didn’t want to disobey my dad, so I just switched,” she said.
“I still love rugby and I love watching them practicing.”
The connection with her father is very strong, however her faith in God is equally as important and dominant in her life.
“There have been times when I was sick and didn’t know if I could run but God was there for me,” Adeniyi said.
“I don’t think if I didn’t have a relationship with God, I would be the person I am today.
And obeying my father and joining track has brought so many blessings.”
Adeniyi has been able to make the most of her talents to an already strong sprint core for Temple’s women’s track team.
Adeniyi was the gold medalist in the 200-meter dash with a time of 28.34 and placed third in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.05 at the Atlantic Indoor championships last February.
“She’ll prove to be one of the A-10’s top athletes,” Phillips said.
So far, Adeniyi has had strong showings in the early goings of the outdoor season.
Outside of her academic/athletic success, Adeniyi is a normal college student by all accounts.
She likes to watch movies and the news, American Idol and anything featuring Vin Diesel.
“He’s just great,” Adeniyi said. “He has this aura, that when he walks into a room, his presence is commanding.”
A presence she has exemplified on and off the track.
Saudia Mitchell can be reached at email@example.com.