Until two years ago, senior Briand Djenodjilem had never heard of the track team at Blair. And until five years ago, Djenodjilem had never seen an American track: He could be found playing soccer and running with his friends in the local fields of his native African country, Chad.
However, despite his relatively recent introduction to the sport of sprinting, Djenodjilem has proven himself to be an essential part of the indoor track team in his past two seasons at Blair.
Djenodjilem serves as a leader to his teammates on the track. He placed fifth in the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.73 seconds at the MCPS Indoor Track and Field Championships, putting Blair's only points on the board. "He wasn't a captain, but he definitely represented the team well," says teammate Xavier Ivey, a junior.
Coach Carlene Murray also sees Djenodjilem as a role model. "He is very quiet, but he has that leadership aura about him. He leads by example," she says.
Djenodjilem started his athletic career in football his sophomore year, but after breaking his hand, he never returned to the sport. The injury led him to track when James Short, the Blair football and track coach, insisted that he try out for the track team. "Coach Short basically told me to show up. He didn't ask me. He just told me to come," says Djenodjilem.
Short remembers first seeing Djenodjilem run and observing the potential in his athletic ability. "He's a fast kid with outstanding speed and strength," says Short.
Short has been proven right. This season at Regionals, Djenodjilem sprinted to seventh place in the boys' 55-meter-dash semifinals with an outstanding time of 6.8 seconds. He also finished in ninth place in the boys' 300-meter finals with a time of 40.3 seconds.
Djenodjilem attributes his success to his hard work, his drive to improve and his coaches' dedication and encouragement. "Ms. Murray showed me to never give up. Even though there were only six people on the team this season, she didn't give up on us. Instead, she just made us train harder," says Djenodjilem.
Currently, Djenodjilem is preparing for outdoor track. This season, he will run the 100-meter and 200-meter open races. Although he is excited about his performance during the indoor track season, Djenodjilem still sees more work ahead. "This past season was my best ever, but I know I can do better," he says.
Colby Chapman. Colby Chapman is a junior page editor and sports writer for Silver Chips. She plays basketball and runs track for Blair, and she plays the piano as well. She is very committed to her academics but takes great pride in her athletics. More »