Sokolova matures at Old Bridge

Oksana Sokolova

Oksana Sokolova of Old Bridge. Photo by: Doug Hood

During her freshman season, Oksana Sokolova didn’t take track very seriously and her results reflected that. But between her first and second years as a member of the Old Bridge High School girls track and field team, Sokolova realized that she needed to put more time and effort into her craft, and the payoff was a sixth place finish at the Meet of Champions, where she cleared 5-feet 6-inches last June.

She returns for her junior season with renewed confidence and a sense that year three can be the best of them all.

“I became more serious after my freshman year and I realized that I wanted to be great, so I stopped slacking and I did exactly what was asked of me,” Sokolova said. “I would love to jump over my height (5’8’’) and be a state champion. I believe that’s all in reach for this season.”

One of the biggest changes that Sokolova made this year was to join the cross country team at Old Bridge. All of the extra training and team building gained from running all year long should pay off in a big way this winter.

“She’s in the best shape of her life and she’s in good position to be even better as a jumper and as a runner,” Old Bridge head coach Steve Gajewski said. “I expect a huge year from her. We expect her to have a very good season, nothing in track is magic and she won’t instantly be the best, but she’s had a fantastic attitude and she has put in a lot of work.”

Sokolova noted that she didn’t particularly want to join the cross country team, but knew that it was one of those necessary changes she needed to make to be great. After building up strength and coming off of a successful season, Sokolova and her teammates are expected to help carry the load this winter, according to Gajewski.

“I think we’ll have a strong team,” Gajewski said. “The girls are coming in off of a solid cross country season and I think that’ll carry over. Those girls are fresh and they just expect everyone to be accountable and work as hard as everyone else does.”

If only she had joined the cross country team earlier.

“I feel like I should have done it last year, I am so much stronger because of it,” Sokolova said. “We all pushed each other and it helped a lot and I like what its done for me so far.”

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