Thompson’s Niya Oden signs with West Alabama for track and field

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

ALABASTER – Having left her mark on the Thompson High School track and field program, Niya Oden will now get the opportunity to continue doing what she loves at the next level.

The former THS track star sat in front of family and friends at Faith Dimension Church on Saturday, Aug. 3, and signed a track and field scholarship to join the University of West Alabama.

“She’s poured in a lot of hard work and dedication to get to this moment,” said her mother Latesha Oden. “Just seeing her turn into an incredible athlete, words just can’t describe this moment for us. I’m just extremely proud of her.”

For Oden, it was a long journey to this point having waited to make the decision until she got everything sorted out the way she wanted.

She had the goal of improving her ACT offer and doing what she needed to do to get those offers, and the patience eventually paid off when UWA offered.

Oden, right, with coach Trey Lee.

“The doors opened up thanks to her patience,” Latesha Oden said. “She put the work in and stayed patient and ended up with a scholarship. It’s been a long journey but we finally got here. To God be the glory.”

That longer path made the moment even sweeter for Niya Oden and her family in the exciting and emotional ceremony at her church. But now, she’s headed to West Alabama to continue participating in her favorite sport at a high level.

With the Thompson track team, she finished second in the AHSAA State Track and Field meet in the triple jump with a distance of 38-feet, 2.25 inches, which became a new school record.

She also won the state championship with the 4X100-meter relay team and holds personal records of 8.02 seconds in the indoor 60-meter dash, 12.65 seconds in the outdoor 100-meter race and 28.71 seconds in the outdoor 200-meter race. In the jump categories, she holds personal records of 16 feet, four inches in the long jump and a school record of 28 feet, 2.25 inches in the triple jump.

Oden’s work and determination led to the special opportunity of competing at the collegiate level, which she is excited to embark on always representing Thompson High School and the coaches who helped her get to this point.