New Jersey native Keturah Orji, who competes for the Atlanta Track Club, reclaimed the American outdoor record in the women's triple jump by bounding out to a massive 48-11.50, the No. 1 jump in the world this year, at the Chula Vista High Performance Meet #2 on Sunday in Chula Vista, Calif.
Orji, who graduated from Mount Olive High in 2014 and won the Bowerman Award as a senior at Georgia in 2018, broke the American record of 48-8.25 set by Toni Franklin of the U.S. at the International Meeting Region de Guadeloupe in Baie-Mahault, Guadeloupe, France on May 12, 2018. Franklin's 48-8.25 surpassed Orji's American record of 48-3 that Orji set when she placed fourth at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
The 25 year-old Orji, whose previous PR of 48-3.50 came on Aug. 24, 2019 at an IAAF Diamond League Meet in Paris, broke Franklin's American record on her first attempt, which came with a wind-legal +1.1 as she moved up to No. 31 on the All-Time World List. After fouling on her second attempt, Orji went 48-4.25 (wind-aided +2.9). After two more fouls, Orji finished off her historic day by going 47-9.25 (wind-aided +2.9).
The record-breaking performance in the TJ by Orji, who won the TJ at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, is her second big PR this month and earned her a second berth in the OIympic Trials. On April 3, Orji soared to a PR of 22-5.75 in the long jump at the Chula Vista High Performance Meet #1 to lock up an Olympic Trials berth in that event. That's No. 3 in the U.S. and No. 5 in the World this year.
The 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials will be held June 18-27 at Hayward Field in Oregon.
Orji, the most decorated horizontal jumper in NJ high school and NCAA history, has her sights set on trying to become the first American women to ever earn a medal in the triple jump at the Olympics. The 2021 Olympic Games are scheduled for July 23-Aug. 8 in Tokyo.
Prior to turning pro a few years ago, Orji capped off a legendary college career in 2018 when she was named the winner of The Bowerman, awarded each year to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track and field athlete in the nation.
The Bowerman, track and field's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, is named after former University of Oregon coach Bill Bowerman. Orji is the first field event athlete to capture the Female Bowerman award since its inception in 2009. She's also the first female to be a Bowerman finalist three times.
When Orji, also the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year, swept the NCAA outdoor triple and long jump titles in 2018, she became only the third in meet history to do so and tying her as the meet's top scorer. Orji is also the first to ever win four NCAA outdoor triple jump titles, and is the fifth in meet history to sweep a single event during a career. She is also third athlete in meet history to win five individual events at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
With a total of eight NCAA titles indoors and outdoors, Orji is the most decorated Division I women's field event athlete in history. She set an outdoor collegiate triple jump record of 47 feet, 11 3/4 inches at the SEC Championships and was the USTFCCCA South Region Women's Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year.
Orji owns the top six outdoor triple jump marks in collegiate history, including three from 2018. She finished her career 31-1 in indoor/outdoor collegiate triple jump competitions, finishing only as a runner-up at the 2015 NCAA indoor meet as a freshman. Orji also won her fourth SEC outdoor triple jump title to become the first competitor in conference history to win the same event four times both indoors and outdoors.
Prior to her record breaking college career, Orji put together the greatest career by a horizontal jumper in NJ high school history during her days at Mount Olive. She won six national titles in high school, captured the 2014 USATF Junior National title in the TJ, and she holds the state records in the triple jump indoors (44-2) and outdoors (44-11).