HUNTLEY – Huntley sprinter Dubem Anikamadu remembers the message from former Red Raiders teammate Connor Boos in the summer of 2016.
“My friend hit me up going into my junior year that I was going to run in the SEC (Southeastern Conference),” said Anikamadu, now a senior. “I was only running 10.8 (100 meters), but I used what he said as my drive and motivation to do what he said.”
On Friday afternoon, about a half hour after classes were finished at Huntley, Anikamadu fulfilled his friend’s prophecy when he picked up a Kentucky cap off the table in front of him, making his college announcement in front of friends, coaches and his parents Mbanefo and Nkoli.
Anikamadu, the 2017 Northwest Herald Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year after winning three Class 3A state sprint medals, chose the Wildcats over Illinois and Nebraska. Minnesota and Mississippi State also had made offers.
“(Kentucky is) in a strong conference and I want to work toward something,” Anikamadu said. “Coming into high school, I had Connor Boos to run against. I had to work hard to be on top. Kentucky was definitely the choice for me. I know it’s going to be really tough, but I know with my work ethic, going into my senior year, I’ll be up to par sooner or later.”
Anikamadu was third in the 200 meters, eighth in the 100 and eighth with Melvin Aninagyei-Bonsu, Eric Mooney and Zach Tepper in the 4x100 relay. That left Anikamadu with Boos as the only area sprinters to win three state medals in one meet.
“Connor had a huge influence on Dubem,” Red Raiders boys track coach Jim Rolando said. “Connor started a winter training group when Dubem was a freshman and he was kind of a part of that. He was pretty average as a freshman. He made a big jump between his freshman and sophomore year. His sophomore year he definitely became something. He realized he was a little better than good.”
Anikamadu won the 100 at the Fox Valley Conference Meet, although he did not run in the 200. He won both sprints in the McHenry County Meet. Then, his state results really grabbed the attention of college coaches.
“It’s a wonderful feeling,” said Mbanefo Anikamadu, Dubem’s father. “I can’t believe the odyssey finally is happening. I thank God for this, and thank my wife for putting him through it too. Hopefully in the next four or five years he will accomplish what he is meant to do.”