Amonu recently became the first Ewing High School girl to surpass 40 feet in the shot put, and she hopes to continue adding distance to her record in the future.
“I’m excited,” Amonu said. “I just want to keep going. I just want to keep progressing. OK, I hit 40, now what’s the next goal? People would always say, 40 feet, 40 feet. I knew I could do it, but to actually see it happen gives me even more confidence. It feels really good inside.”
Amonu, a junior who broke the school record by a foot when she reached 40 feet-10 inches in a throw that won her a Mercer County title in the shot put for the second consecutive year, started with track-and-field in the sixth grade and decided to give the shot put and discus a try. She followed her brother, Chinedu, into the sport.
Chinedu was a star sprinter at Ewing High and is continuing his career as a student-athlete at the University of Connecticut.
“My brother inspired me to go into track,” Amonu said. “I did the shot put and the discus and I loved it. It’s become a part of me.”
It didn’t take long for Amonu to find her own success in track-and-field. Last spring as a sophomore, Amonu finished first in the shot put and fifth in the discus at the Mercer County Championships. She finished second in shot put and fourth in discus at the state sectional championships and then fourth in the discus and seventh in shot put at the state group championships to qualify in both events for the Meet of Champions.
At the Meet of Champions, Amonu finished 18th in the shot put and 39th in the discus.
This year, she again won the Mercer County title in the shot put and finished fourth in discus.
“I kind of started slowly this year,” said the 5-foot-11 Amonu, who also plays tennis and basketball at Ewing. “As the season has progressed more [personal records] are starting to roll in, so it’s been a pretty successful season.”
Amonu is soft-spoken and polite, but her easy-going exterior shouldn’t lead to people assuming she is a pushover.
“Chibuzo is a fierce competitor,” said Oksana Cheeseman, who coaches Amonu in the throwing events and also is her class advisor. “She might seem quiet, but she is very determined. To be successful in an event like the shot put, you have to be as fast as a sprinter, as powerful as a weightlifter and you have to be very skilled. It is a lot of technique involved.”
Earlier this year, Amonu was recognized as the NJEA 97.5 Scholar Athlete of the Week. In addition to participating in three sports at Ewing, she is on the Principal’s Honor Roll and possesses one of the top GPAs in her class. She also is secretary of her class and treasurer for her youth ministry group. As if that weren’t enough, Amonu is a member of her church choir and likes to cook and bake in her free time.
Amonu is considering a career as a midwife or an anesthesiologist.
Of course, for now, she is focused on her work at Ewing High, both on the field and off. While she enjoys playing tennis and basketball, Amonu points to track and field as her passion.
“I feel like I’m most successful in track and field,” Amonu said. “You have to push yourself. You can’t always rely on your teammates. You have to focus on yourself and work to get better. My technique is still improving; I work on it at every practice. I want to try this in college and see where I go from there—maybe the Olympics. I’m hoping to get some scholarships.”
Amonu hopes to continue her improvement at the state championships, where she and Cheeseman are aiming for a Top 10 finish in the shot put. The competition is beyond tough; Donovan Catholic junior Alyssa Wilson recently became the No. 1-ranked girls shot-putter in the nation thanks to a throw of more than 55 feet at the Shore Conference Championships. She became only the second girl in high school history to surpass 55 feet in the event.
But as one might expect with Amonu’s personality, she looks at Wilson’s records as goals to which she can aspire rather than be discouraged by them.
“We have someone to compete with,” Cheeseman said, smiling, as Amonu nodded. “Chibuzo is advancing every year, which is great to see. It’s pretty exciting.”
Amonu agreed. “I’m very excited,” she said about the future. “I just want to keep working and improving and seeing more [personal records] along the way. I’m just going to do my best and let God do the rest.”