Athing Mu's Bronze Leads Way For NJ At World Championships

New Jersey native Athing Mu came up a little short in her attempt to successfully defend her title, but she showed a lot of resiliency and heart on her way to a bronze medal in the women's 800-meter run at the IAAF World Championships, which concluded on Sunday in Budapest, Hungary 

Mu, the 2020 Olympic gold medalist in the 800 and the American outdoor record holder in the event, made a strong bid to repeat as World Champion as she led for most of the race before Mary Moraa of Kenya and Kelly Hodgkinson of Great Britain passed her in the final straightaway. Moraa crossed the line first in 1:56.03, Hodgkinson was second in 1:56.34, and Mu was third in 1:56.61.

Mu, a 2020 graduate of Trenton High, pulled off a remarkable recovery just to make it the final. In her semifinal heat, she got tangled up with another runner, which caused her to spin around and nearly fall. But Mu re-grouped and rallied to place second to advance to the final.

After Sunday's final, Mu, who had contemplated not defending her title, talked about the pressure she's faced over the last couple years. 


Nia Ali (Pleasantville High-Class of 2006), who put together a masterclass in the women's 100 hurdles when the 34-year-old mother of three stunned a loaded field to win her first U.S. national title last month, banged the first few hurdles in the final and wound up 8th in 12.78. Ali, the silver medalist in the hurdles at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, was bidding for her fourth World title. She won the 100 hurdles in 2019, and captured the World Indoor Championships in the 60m hurdles in 2014 and '16. 

Keturah Orji, a 2014 graduate of Mount Olive High, finished ninth in the women's triple jump with a mark of 14.33 meters. Orji, a 2-time Olympian, owns the American Record of 14.92 meters (48-11.25.). Orji has captured six US National titles in her remarkable career.    

Sam Mattis, a 2012 graduate of East Brunswick High and a 2020 Olympian, Josh Awotunde (Delsea High-Class of 2013), Curtis Thompson (Florence High-Class of 2014), came up short in their attempts to reach the finals in their respective throwing events.

Mattis, who qualified last month by rallying to win his second US national title (he also won in 2019), threw 63.43 meters in the qualification round. Mattis, who set the still-standing NJ high school discus record with a 218-4 in 2012, owns a personal best of 225-4 and placed  eighth in the discus with a 209-7 at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Thompson, a 2020 Olympian who won his third men's javelin title at the US Championship with a 265-6 on his final throw, threw 74.21 meters in the qualifying round. Thompson also won U.S. titles in 2018 (249-3) and in 2021 at the Olympic Trials when he won on his final throw with a 271-7!! 

Awotunde, who finished third with a 72-6.25 when the U.S. produced a historic 1-2-3 sweep in the shot put at Hayward Field at the 2022 World Championships, missed the final with his throw of 19.98 in the qualifying round.

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone (Union Catholic-Class of 2017), the world record holder in the 400 hurdles and 2-time Olympic gold medalist, missed the meet due to a minor knee injury. McLaughlin-Levrone, who focused on the flat 400 this season, won the 400 at the US Championships in a sizzling 48.74!! That broke the meet record, is the No. 2 time ever by an American, is the No. 10 time in the history of the world, and the fastest time in the world this year.