McLaughlin Advances, Orji 6th, Mattis 11th At Worlds

NJ's Sydney McLaughlin, the world record holder in the 400-meter hurdles and the reigning gold medalist in the event, began her quest for another global medal by easily winning her opening round heat, Keturah Orji placed sixth in the women's triple jump, and Sam Mattis finished 11th in the men's discus at the World Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

McLaughlin, who reset her own world record when she ran 51.41 to win the U.S. title last month on this same track, ran a very smooth and relaxed 53.95 on Tuesday to advance to Wednesday's semifinals. McLaughlin's 53.95 was the second fastest time of the opening round (Femkle Bol of the Netherlands ran 53.90).  

The semifinals are scheduled to begin at 9:15 p.m. on Wednesday (it will be shown live on the USA Network). McLaughlin (Union Catholic High -Class of 2017) will be racing in the third and final semifinal heat. The top two finishers in each heat plus the two fastest times will advance to Friday's final, which is scheduled for 10:50 p.m.

Keturah Orji (Mount Olive High-Class of 2014) finished sixth in the triple jump on Monday night with a mark of 14.49 meters/47-6.50. Orji, the American record holder in the event, also had jumps of 14.06 and 13.47, and fouled three times.

Orji, a 2-time Olympian, has won six U.S. National titles outdoors in the TJ,  was fourth in the TJ at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, fourth at the 2016 World Indoor Championships, fifth at the 2018 World Indoor Championships, seventh at the 2019 World Outdoor Championships, and seventh at the Olympics in Tokyo last summer.

Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela, the world record holder and the reigning Olympic champ, won the triple jump for the third straight time with a world leading and Hayward Field record of 50-9.25. Shanieka Ricketts of Jamaica (48-10.25) was second, and Tori Franklin became the first U.S. woman to ever earn a global medal in the triple jump with a 48-2.50.    

Sam Mattis (East Brunswick High Class of 2012) had an off day as he finished 11th in the discus with a throw of 63.19 meters/207-3 feet. The discus was won by Kristjan Ceh of Slovakia, who unloaded a meet record 233-4. Ceh is ranked No. 10 in world history with the 71.27.233-10 he threw in May.

Mattis, who also had throws of 60.89 and 62.82, finished eighth at the Olympics in Tokyo last summer and owns a personal best of 225-4, which is No. 6 in the world this year.

Mattis, who starred at UPenn, won the discus at the NCAA Championships in 2015, and finished first at the 2019 U.S. National Championships.