NAMPA, Idaho. -- Senior Maureen Ajoku will end her four year track and field career at UC Santa Barbara with plenty of memories and a whole lot to be proud of. Ajoku's 2012 indoor track season came to end this evening after she placed second in the pentathlon at the Boise State Invitationals and set a tremendous personal record. Her score of 3,785 was an improvement of nearly one-hundred points from her previous mark of 3,688 that she earned at the University of Washington Invite two weeks ago.
While a significant achievement for Ajoku, her score did not qualify her to compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships March 9-10. The current automatic qualifying score for the pentathlon is 4,150.
Upon closer look, Ajoku's past shows the incredible amount of courage and grit that was involved for her to be where she is today. It took all the strength in the world for Ajoku to continue track after losing her parents in the beginning of her track career. Despite the difficult times, Ajoku made an effort to remain on the team by continuing to make strides and showing a desire to improve. "My first couple of years at UCSB were a bit rocky for me and it definitely showed in my results in competitions. I was going through the motions. I had to be strong though and turn all the negatives in my life into positives and that's when my improvements showed," recalls Ajoku.
"I had a significant PR in the long jump, tying the school record, and major improvements in the heptathlon as well. I am just thankful for the program and the coaches for believing in me. This program has lifted my spirits and made me a better athlete and person altogether. Most memorable moment is definitely tying the school record at 19-4.75."
Her coaches can attest to Ajoku's significant improvements as well. "Maureen had a great career at UCSB, very few athletes can boast the kind of improvements she has made as a collegiate athlete. She will leave the program with a long jump school record and a number of performances on the all time UCSB lists," claims Associate Head Coach, Josh Priester.
Ajoku leaves UCSB with her footprint in several top ten lists. She tied the school school record in the long jump at 19-4.75, is tied with eighth place in the high jump with her mark of 5-7, and is second in school history in the heptathlon with her score of 5,108.
As for the remainder of the outdoor season, Ajoku will continue to train with the Gauchos and hopes to land a spot in an M.B.A. program in the fall. She might be a fierce competitor on the field but her cheerful disposition and soft-spoken nature makes Maureen Ajoku a double edged sword, through and through.