Fitchburg High Track Star Oduro is Headed to UMass Lowell
FITCHBURG -- Evans Oduro sure was comfortable as a student-athlete at Lowell High School.
But the talented track star and his family packed up and moved to unfamiliar surroundings in Fitchburg before the start of his senior year.
“Halfway through the summer I was like, ‘I’m really going to have to leave Lowell High,’” said Oduro, who helped Lowell High win its first all-state outdoor championship last spring at Fitchburg State University.
For most, leaving the comforts of your school and athletic program would be numbing, but not for Oduro. Oduro was welcomed in to his new home with open arms, and the transition from being a Lowell Red Raider to a Fitchburg Red Raider was easier than expected.
“The transition was smooth, actually,” said Oduro. “It’s different from Lowell High because it’s smaller, but it still was a good fit. It felt like home over here.
“It was easy because they welcomed me here. It’s like a family here, just like how Lowell was. I want to thank them for welcoming me as an athlete and as a student.”
Oduro picked up right where he left off in Lowell, excelling both in the classroom and on the track at Fitchburg High. All that hard work over the years certainly has paid dividends.
Surrounded by family, teammates, coaches and administrators in the school library Thursday morning, Oduro officially signed his national letter of intent to run track at Division 1 UMass Lowell in the spring.
“It’s a big weight to take off my shoulders,” said Oduro. “I’m really happy to be able to have a place to go after I graduate.
“It really felt like home when I visited there, and I came from Lowell so it’s kind of a way to go back. I have a lot of memories in Lowell, so it was a good place for me to go back there for another four years.”
Oduro’s mother, Rita, was filled with emotion after watching her oldest of four boys sign his letter to attend UMass Lowell.
“I’m so proud of him because when we moved here it wasn’t easy,” she said. “His last year to finish school and he changed schools; it wasn’t easy.”
Oduro’s mother has always preached that academics come first.
“You always want to keep that in mind,” Oduro said. “Not everyone is going to be a professional athlete when you grow up, so you want to keep that in mind that you should take academics seriously, and sports come second.”
Oduro has been a gem for Fitchburg’s track team this winter.
“He’s definitely a driven kid, definitely self-motivated,” said Fitchburg High track coach Sara DiPilato Lamey. “He fits in great with the kids. He’s made a really smooth transition.”
The senior has broken both the long jump school record (21 feet, 11 inches) and the triple jump school record (43 feet, 7.5 inches).
“I’m happy to be breaking some of the records that were set a while ago,” Oduro said. “I think records are something you should aim for, and they are made to be broken.”
The long jump record was previous held by coach James McCall, who was also in attendance at Oduro’s signing.
Oduro also won the hurdles at the league meet and at districts. His best time in the 55-meter hurdles is 7.80 seconds, which he set at last week’s state qualifier.
Oduro can’t wait for Saturday’s all-state meet, where he’s looking forward to a reunion with former teammates and getting a shot to break McCall’s 55-meter hurdles record.
“I’m very excited to race against some of my former teammates from Lowell,” he said. “Hopefully I can break coach McCall’s record of 7.67. My expectations are to break coach McCall’s record.”
Chad Garner is the communications coordinator for Fitchburg High School.