Ajax’s Duan Asemota commits to Coffeyville Community College

Sprinter will join Red Ravens track team in Kansas

AJAX -- Duan Asemota didn’t have a lot of time to make a good impression.

As it turned out, he didn’t need it.

After a broken ankle in Grade 11 while playing basketball sidelined the sprinter from the track for a complete season, he headed into Grade 12 at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School needing to post some low times to garner interest from NCAA schools in the United States. He did his part, and Coffeyville Community College in Kansas came through with an offer.

For the next two years, the 17 year old will be a member of the Red Ravens track program, but it wasn’t always that definitive.

“I missed a whole year that I sat out. I missed OFSAA and I missed getting recruited from a lot of schools,” says Asemota, who grew up in Pickering before moving to Ajax in 2010. “So going into Grade 12 I didn’t have that much. It was a make-or-break year and I did well. I was able to get some interest from some schools.”

To help him get to the next level, Asemota joined the Pickering-based Speed Academy in November 2012, and flourished under the coaching of Tony Sharpe. Recruiters started to come calling in Asemota’s senior year of high school, with schools in Iowa and Arizona making contact in addition to Coffeyville.

School commitments kept him from visiting the campus of Coffeyville, but a teammate at The Speed Academy, Andre De Grasse, spoke highly of the Red Ravens track program. In fact, the two years De Grasse went there served him well, turning it into a scholarship to the University of Southern California.

“I was looking for a program that was a good fit for me. Not where it was crazy fast or too slow, just a good balance,” says Asemota. “Somewhere I could go and get attention from coaches and with training get better.

“They have a lot of Canadians on the roster so it’s the perfect fit for me to fit in. They came second in indoor nationals and they’ve done really well. Performance and the way of life there is a perfect fit for me.”

In July in Ottawa, Asemota won the provincial championship in the 100m and was third in the 200m, events he will compete in at Coffeyville.

The plan is to follow a similar path to that of De Grasse -- perform well on the track and in the classroom and use the two years at Coffeyville as a springboard to an NCAA Division I program.

The transition from high school to college will be a big one, he admits.

“I’m nervous. I haven’t really been away from home like this before. It’s 18 hours away, so pretty far. It’s not like I can come home in the car. I’m nervous about that and mixing on the campus with different people I don’t know.”

When he’s not on the track, Asemota will be studying pre-engineering in the classroom.

Tony Sharpe helps score scholarships for track and field stars

tony sharpe

Sharpe, the former Canadian Olympian, runs the Speed Academy, a developmental track and field club in Pickering, which has helped dozens of athletes get NCAA scholarships.

The club was founded in 2006 and Sharpe left his corporate account manager’s job at Bell to track athletes full-time a few years later.

“I’m a full-time coach, you know, not something people do often in Canada,” says Sharpe, 59, adding about 50 Speed Academy athletes have received scholarships.