His name reads like the bottom line of the ophthalmologist’s eye chart.
It’s Tomatse Ogedegbe and it is pronounced exactly the way it’s spelled. Only joking.
The Hudson Catholic track and field standout’s first name is pronounced TOE-MOT-SAY and the second name is OH-AH-DEG-BEE. Needless to say, it’s a mouthful and last weekend, it was a handful for the rest of the NJSIAA Non-Public B state sectional runners at Madison High School.
Ogedegbe, a junior at Hudson Catholic who just began competing in track and field a year ago, won three gold medals at the state sectionals, winning the 100-meter dash in 11.35 seconds, the long jump (20 feet, four and ½ inches) and the high jump (six feet, four inches) and also finished third in the triple jump in 38 feet, nine inches.
Only 16 years old, Ogedegbe is the product of two doctors. His father is a vice dean and professor at New York University’s medical school and his mother is an emergency room doctor at Hackensack University Medical Center. Both parents were born in Nigeria, but Tomatse was born in New York.
Ogedegbe first attended St. Peter’s Prep, where he played basketball. When he transferred to Hudson Catholic, he gave up playing round ball for running and jumping.
“I thought I might do well in track, so I decided to give it a try,” Ogedegbe said. “I ended up being pretty good. I knew I was a pretty good athlete, but this surprised me. I knew I was a pretty good runner and jumper in basketball. I’m just taking it all in stride.”
Ogedegbe said that he just took up long jumping and triple jumping a few weeks ago.
“I wanted to see how far I could push myself,” Ogedegbe said.
He also commutes daily to Jersey City from Fort Lee. Talk about pushing himself.
Hudson Catholic head coach Gerry McCann, the former Jersey City mayor, believes that Ogedegbe has a chance to be one of the best track athletes in Hudson Catholic history – if he’s not already there.
“He’s triple jumping nearly 40 feet and he’s just learning how to do it,” McCann said. “He’s long jumping better than 20 feet and still learning. It’s hard to say where he goes, but he’s on his way. I’m trying to tell him to try the hurdles, because the more events he does, the better chance he would have to go to college. I’m also going to see if he can do the longer runs. The guy is built like an Adonis. He really can do anything.”
McCann said that his last four high jumpers were all basketball players.
“I tell [Hudson Catholic athletic director and head basketball coach Nick] Mariniello to just give me the guys who don’t play,” McCann said. “If I’m going to give credit to anyone, it’s Mariniello.”
Ogedegbe is an excellent student who could probably write his own ticket to college next year.
“I’m glad I made the switch from basketball to track,” Ogedegbe said. “I just had to learn how to depend upon myself. I’m ecstatic the way it all turned out.”…
North Bergen’s Natalie Gomes, last week’s Athlete of the Week, continued her brilliant senior outdoor campaign by winning the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1, Group IV state sectional gold medal in the 100-meter dash last weekend.
Gomes went from fourth in the time trials to winning the gold medal in the finals in 12.54, just nosing out Jen Ojukwu of Mount Olive in the final strides at Randolph. Gomes becomes the program’s first state sectional champion since her good friend Carolina Herrera won two years ago en route to earning Hudson Reporter Female Athlete of the Year honors…
The spring sports season came to a screeching halt locally Tuesday, when four local teams made their exits from the NJSIAA state playoffs.
The softball teams from North Bergen, Hudson Catholic and Hoboken all lost in their respective state sectional semifinals, while Hudson County baseball champ St. Peter’s Prep lost to Bergen Catholic in the Non-Public A North quarterfinals, easily the toughest baseball bracket in the state.
Still, it’s hard to recall the last time Hudson County had four teams all end their respective seasons on the same day. It means that last Tuesday will be forever known as Dark Tuesday…
We ran out of space last week to update the list of the Top 25 Sports Characters in Hudson County Sports over the last 25 years, so here’s No. 23 a week late.
No. 23 Nick “Whizzer” Mastorelli, Union City: “The Wiz” was more than just a character. He was a college recruiter and father figure to hundreds, perhaps thousands of kids from North Hudson, especially his native Union City, where he also served as deputy mayor.
Everyone knew Mastorelli, whether it was because of his diminutive frame or his distinct hairstyle. It was more than likely because not only was Mastorelli involved in every aspect of Hudson County sports as an umpire, recreation director, sports organizer and the director of the Emerson High School Athletic Hall of Fame – an organization that will probably go by the wayside now that Mastorelli passed away earlier this year.
Even that made him a character, because no one knew Whizzer’s real age.
But for getting so many local athletes scholarships to college, especially in his beloved University of Vermont, for being so involved and for being such a recognizable figure in Hudson County sports for more than 60 years, the Wiz is No. 23 on the list of characters over the last quarter century of Hudson County sports.
And next week, we guarantee to have No. 22, so stay tuned, as well as the Hudson Reporter All-Area High School Baseball and Softball Teams for 2016…–Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.