This week’s Where Are They Now checks in with Naperville Central sprinter D’Jenne Egharevba, presented by Molly Maids of the Aurora Naperville Area.
Defying the Odds
Like many great athletes, former Naperville Central track and field star D’Jenne Egharevba is fueled by critics and those who doubt her ability on the track.
Even when she qualified for state as a freshman as part of the 4X100 and 4X200 meter relays, there were some who questioned her ability and what her ceiling as a sprinter could be. Over the next three years, D’Jenne Egharevba would rack up dozens of medals and break three school records.
Under the tutelage of legendary Central coach Mike Stine, Egharevba won the DVC in the 200 meters four times, earned seven medals at the 3A state tournament and broke the school record in the 100, 200 and 4X100 relay. A sectional champion in the 200 meters in 2015, she also crossed the line in 5th place in the 100 meter dash that same season. Her best finish at the state meet was as a senior in 2016, running the anchor leg for the third place 4X100 meter relay team.
D’Jenne was one of three outstanding athletes representing the family at Naperville Central. Her younger sister Naomi was a great runner in her own right, winning the Ottawa sectional in the 200 meters as a sophomore in 2017 and qualified for state in the 200 and 4X400 relay in 2018. Brother Felix was a Third Team All state volleyball player with the Redhawks, who now plays collegiately at Ball State University.
After graduating from Naperville Central in 2016, The eldest Egharevba began her college running career at Illinois State University. From the Redhawks to the Redbirds, D’Jenne did not take long to get acclimated to the next level. She was named the Missouri Valley Conference indoor and outdoor freshman of the year, taking third in the 100 meter dash at the MVC outdoor championships and winning the 200 at the MVC indoor.
The upward trajectory continued through her sophomore season at ISU. The sprinter won the indoor 60 meter and 200 meter titles and helped the 4X400 meter relay team finish 2nd. She broke the Redbird school records in the 60 and the 200 and was named Most Valuable Athlete at the MVC Indoor Championships. Then in the spring, Egharevba broke the school record in the 200 meters for the outdoor season and won the MVC 100 meter outdoor championship. After helping ISU to the Indoor and Outdoor team championships as well, D’Jenne traded the red and white for the black and red, transferring to Texas Tech for the 2018-19 school year.
Despite another challenge by moving into the Big 12 conference, the former Naperville Central standout continued to excel, especially in the 200 meters. As a junior in 2019, Egharevba finished 2nd in the 200 in the Big 12 Indoor Championships, setting a new PR with a time of 23.22 seconds. She also picked up first place finishes throughout the season by running as part of 4X100 and 4X400 relay teams.
During her senior season this winter, D’Jenne sustained her success by putting up the fifth best time in Red Raider history in the 60 meter indoor event at 7.35 seconds, and racking up top ten program times in the 60 meter in over five consecutive races. At the Big 12 Indoor championships in February, Texas Tech finished in 2nd place and scored more team points than any Big 12 meet in program history. Egharevba played a key part by taking home the 5th place medals in the 60 and 200 meters.
Unfortunately for Dee Dee and for all collegiate athletes across the country, the 2020 spring sports season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The NCAA recently granted Division I spring sport athletes a blanket waiver to receive an extra year of eligibility, meaning that Egharevba could return for the outdoor track season in 2021 to finish her senior campaign. While the future of D’Jenne Egharevba’s running career remains uncertain at this point, there is one aspect that is now crystal clear. The doubters are long gone.
Check out other Where Are They Now stories in our NSW Athlete Profiles.
LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
If you're a high school sports fan, please consider a donation to Naperville's nonprofit TV station!Donate Today!