Times High School Boys Star of the Year | O'Dea's Johri Fogerson saves best for last
Johri Fogerson, O'Dea High School senior, jumped 6 feet, 8 inches to win the state title in the high jump, was State Player of the Year as a running back in football and excelled on the basketball court. For his achievements, Fogerson is The Seattle Times' High-School Male Athlete of the Year.
Special to The Seattle Times
Scores & stats
On the final day of his high-school career, Johri Fogerson slept through two wake-up calls and the team breakfast.
After a rushed shower, the empty-bellied O'Dea senior hopped on the team bus hungry for one thing: a state title.
"Today's the day I win the high jump," he declared on his way to the Class 3A state track meet in Pasco. "I'm going to jump 6-8."
Irish track coach Andy Slatt, who only moments earlier had to pull the covers off Fogerson's bed, had heard the lofty prophecy the night before, and knew better than to underestimate the talented 18 year old.
"I hear kids say things like that all the time, but I believed him," Slatt said. "When he says he's going to do something, he does it."
Hours later, in front of a crowd that included family and former teammates — "We filled up half the stadium!" — Fogerson kept his promise. The 6-foot, 8-inch jump surpassed his personal best by 4 inches and secured the state title.
With that memorable leap, as well as a State Player of the Year football season and an all-league performance on the basketball court, Fogerson is The Seattle Times' High School Boys Athlete of the Year.
Winning an elusive state title was as much a relief as a celebration for Fogerson, who endured disappointing finishes in both football and basketball.
"I just had to win state in something this year," said Fogerson, who also placed eighth in the long jump. "I was 0 for 2."
Make that 1 for 3.
It was no surprise that Fogerson's best jump came on the biggest stage. All year the senior's paramount performances came in front of the largest crowds.
"He's a great athlete and a great competitor, and when the lights are on, he's always at his best," said Monte Kohler, O'Dea football coach and athletic director. "He never gets intimidated by the moment or shies away. He prides himself on doing well in those situations."
Kohler had a front-row view of Fogerson's feats this year, particularly in football. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound running back led the Seattle area with 2,545 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns, and carried the Irish to the 3A title game. As usual, he saved the best for last.
While four touchdowns and 297 rushing yards weren't enough to beat Skyline of Sammamish, Fogerson's record-breaking performance caught the attention of football programs across the country.
Scholarship offers poured in, including one he would eventually accept from Washington. This fall he will suit up in the Huskies' backfield.
"He has had just a great high-school career, especially with football," Kohler said. "Not having him out here next year will be hard."
As he looks back, Fogerson is thankful for those who nurtured him along the way.
"Brandon Jones, Taylor Mays, Tony Felder, they all took me under their wing and put trust in me to keep everything going at O'Dea," he said, reeling off the names of three Pac-10 football recruits from the First Hill all-boys Catholic school. "They trusted that I was going to make it."
Now it's Fogerson's turn to give back.
Despite graduating last Wednesday, the senior is helping Irish underclassmen study for finals. For in the end, Fogerson imagines a legacy that spans more than athletics.
"I think I'll probably be remembered as just a great all-around guy and athlete," he said smiling. "And I'm fine with that."
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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