Mercury News
Tolu Wusu a senior at Palo Alto High, practices a long jump.
Tolu Wusu a senior at Palo Alto High, practices a long jump.

For the Wusu family of Palo Alto, sports have always been an important part of life.

Timi Wusu starred in football, wrestling and track at Palo Alto High and is now a sophomore decathlete and football player at Stanford.

Tolu Wusu is a senior at Paly and is a standout in the same three sports his brother played. Their younger sisters Dami and Lola also balance three sports while maintaining good grades.

Spurred by a good-natured rivalry with his brother, Tolu Wusu has made a name for himself in his senior year.

In football, Wusu was an all-league selection and the most valuable offensive player in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division.

On the wrestling mat, Wusu finished third in the Central Coast Section (CCS) tournament, qualifying for the state meet in one of the most difficult weight classes: 162 pounds.

Saturday, with his brother cheering him on from the stands at San Jose City College, Wusu had a career best in the triple jump with a mark of 47 feet, 2 1/4 inches to finish second in the CCS finals. He will compete in the CIF track and field meet Friday and Saturday at Cerritos College in Norwalk.

As a senior at Paly, Timi Wusu won a CCS title in the 300 hurdles, finished second in the 110 hurdles and fourth in the high jump.

``My brother likes to say he can still kick my butt in anything; he likes to keep his dominance,'' Tolu Wusu said with a smile. ``But he really wants me to do well, and since we are usually doing different events, we usually don't go head to head.''

Now that Timi Wusu is competing in the decathlon, the brothers have one event in common: the long jump. Timi's personal best of 23-11 has given Tolu something to shoot for. Tolu jumped 21-9 1/4 Saturday to finish sixth at CCS.

On Saturday, Greenfield junior Joel Tuosto got a great triple jump on his first attempt with a mark of 47-6 3/4. That put the pressure on Wusu, who was out of sorts for his first few jumps.

``I may have been too pumped up for those first jumps,'' Wusu said. ``Calming back down helped me out a lot.''

After hitting a jump of 46-10 1/2 on his fifth attempt, which automatically qualified for the state meet, Wusu said, his coaches advised him to pass on his last attempt.

But Wusu wanted to work out the kinks in his technique. On his last attempt he managed his longest jump of the day.

Wusu's jump of 47-2 1/4 set a new Palo Alto High record, breaking Kenny Smith's mark set in the early 1980s.

``Tolu has a great attitude and really brings a spark to the team,'' said Palo Alto head coach Jason Fung. ``Last year he showed potential but wasn't real consistent. He also battled injuries. This year he's banged up again from football and wrestling, but he's definitely a lot stronger in the lower body. He's also grown up quite a bit. The Wusus all have that athletic ability; it's just a question of tapping into it.''

Steve Baker, a former standout long jumper at Gunn High, has helped Wusu out with his technique this year and says Wusu has been an eager student of the sport.

``Tolu works hard and listens well; he's very easy to coach,'' Baker said. ``We're hoping he can hit 48 feet in the triple jump. He definitely has a chance to do well at the state meet.''

Contact Dennis Knight at or (408) 920-5899.

LYNBROOK: The 1,600-meter boys relay team earned a trip to the state track and field meet this weekend in Norwalk with a third-place finish at last Saturday's Central Coast Section finals.

A time of 3:23.08 from Durrell Roberts (49.1 seconds), Chris Bencomo (50.6), Chris Deal (54.1) and Taimur Khan (48.8) was third to teams from Salinas and Serra.

LOS GATOS HIGH: The boys track team nearly won the CCS meet Saturday, falling to second place after Serra secured the win by finishing second in the last event of the day, the 1,600-meter relay.

Nik Kay led the Wildcats by winning the shot put and discus, and junior Chad Blanchard qualified for state with a third-place finish in the 800 meters (1:55.13).

On the Wildcats girls team, freshman Christine Jones qualified for state with a second-place finish in the 800 (2:12.18); she also anchored the 1,600-relay team, which qualified with a third-place finish.

Junior Sally Stanton was fifth in the 300 hurdles (46.10) and qualified for state by finishing third in the pole vault (11-6).

WESTMONT: Robert Jennings finished second in the discus with 183-09. He enters the state meet seeded third.