Examining The Possibilities
As Keturah Orji, the junior from Mount Olive, N.J., sped down the runway for her fifth triple jump of the day, what was in question was not if she'd repeat at the New Balance Nationals champion in Greensboro, N.C.
The question was simply, "How far can she go?"
Well, that jump — which measured a wind-legal 13.34 meters (43-9 1/4) — left more questions than answers. It was, after all, the sixth-longest effort in high school history, but it didn't have the look of a perfect effort.
She didn't even hit the takeoff board and her final phase — the jump — nearly had a 'run-through' look. Her entry into the sand was without extension as she landed standing upright and simply walked away.
How many inches were left at both the start and finish of the effort? That is rather scary to think about given that her mark would have scored at the NCAA Championships last weekend. And, yes, she is just a junior.
Orji was hardly the only local standout of the day. Averill Park senior Rudy Winkler used the final hammer throw of his high school career to erase Walter Henning's meet record. The Cornell-bound Winkler measured out at 76.70 meters (251-8) to win by 10 feet. Another local strongman — Braheme Days, Jr., of Bridgeton, N.J. — easily won the shot with a huge final throw of 20.89 meters (68-6 1/2).
Emily Savage, a senior from Weston, Conn., won the pole vault with a clearance of 3.93 meters (12-10 3/4) while Keelin Hollowood won the girls' 2,000-meter steeplechase in 6:43.96. Afterward the Providence-bound runner talked about running the event at the college level, but couldn't fathom the additional 1,000 meters. Not yet, anyway.
On the boys' side, Thomas Jefferson High senior Sidgie Greene pulled off the win in the fast section of the event, but had to settle for second overall as Colorado Springs' Bailey Roth ran away from the field with a fast time in the first section.
The milers of the future were on display as the victors of both freshmen events came from the region. Mamaroneck's Lauren Chapey won the girls' race in 5:07.94 while Randy Neish of Glastonbury, Conn., took the boys' in 4:25.17.
Columbia of New Jersey won both the 4x800-meter and sprint medley relays on the girls' side. Olivia Baker, who is running the open 400 against Medgar Evers' Kadecia Baird on Sunday, anchored the 4x8 to a 9:01.12 while the sprint medley finished in 3:52.07, the second-fastest time in high school history.
The story in the boys' relays was again Union Catholic of Scotch Plains, N.J. That little school won three relay titles at the Indoor Nationals at The Armory and blazed to a four-second win over Fordham Prep in the 4x110-meter shuttle hurdles relay on Saturday. The team of Obafemi Animashaun, Christoffe Scott, Taylor McLaughlin and Zach Ghizzone finished in 56.63.