Livingston's Jessica Oji Wins Shot Put At The Penn Relays

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Jessica Oji couldn't stop smiling and flexing!!!

The junior at Livingston was understandably ecstatic as she celebrated the biggest victory of career while standing on the podium at the 128th Penn Relays on Thursday at historic Franklin Field.

Oji had just captured the girls shot put title with a throw of 46-4 and the emotions were pouring out as she soaked in the moment.

Oji was second overall and the first American finisher in the shot put here last year

"I've been waiting since last year for this day,'' said Oji. "After placing a very close second last year, I've been working toward getting back here and finishing on top.''

But Oji's drive to win and most of the emotions she was feeling stemmed from the setback she suffered last May when she tore her ACL in her right knee while play goalie in a soccer game.

"It was a long rehab,'' said Ojii, the NJ indoor Meet of Champions winner in the shot in March. "I had surgery and didn't throw again until January, and when I came back I couldn't spin. I started spinning again at indoor nationals, and it's all starting to come together. I still have a lot of work to do to get the big numbers I want to hit, but it will come. But the injury was tough to deal with, but I wasn't going to let it stop me. I was determined to come back better than ever and show everyone that I'm still here. It was a crazy recovery and a great comeback for me. I couldn't have done it without my family, friends, and teammates.''  

Oji, who wears a brace on her surgically repaired knee, is the first NJ winner in the girls shot put since state record holder Alyssa Wilson of Donovan Catholic in 2017. Wilson holds the meet record with her winning throw of 53-7 in 2017.

Oji's first three throws were 44-6.25, 43-9.25, 46-4, and then she had 3 fouls in the finals. Oji won by more than a foot over Marla-Kay Lampart of Clarendon in Jamaica.  

Last year, Oji celebrated her runner-up finish by going to Chipotle.

So where was heading after this victory?

"Right back to Chipotle,'' she said. "That's my spot!''