NCAA Women’s Long Jump — Orji Starts A Double

Keturah Orji finally added the long jump to her burgeoning collection of horizontal-jump golds. (ERROL ANDERSON/THE SPORTING IMAGE)

Georgia expected to score major points, what with defending champion Kate Hall, triple jumper extraordinaire—and yearly list leader—Keturah Orji, and frosh phenom Tara Davis all projected for top-7 places. The trio had finished 1-2-3 at the Indoor, and another sweep was not out of the question, with Orji the nominal favorite off her PR-setting outdoor season.

However, indoors and outdoors are different worlds, and, to some extent, this was not the Bulldogs’ day. Sophomore Hall never seemed comfortable with her approach or takeoff, and finished only 16th, nearly 2ft below her season’s best. The demonstrative and entertaining Davis fouled 4 of her 6 attempts and watched her happily celebrated runner-up in round 2 slip to 3rd, then 4th and finally 5th. That left the decidedly non-demonstrative Orji, perhaps the most accomplished collegiate horizontal jumper ever. She did not disappoint, finally getting gold in her backup event after silvers at the ’18 indoor and ’17 outdoor.

On a sunny afternoon with erratic, swirling winds, Orji moved to the lead in the second round with a 21-8 (6.60). Florida junior Yanis David held 2nd with what would be her best jump of the day, 21-4¼ (6.51). The only change in the third round was South Carolina junior Rougui Sow’s soaring jump into 5th with the first of her three 21-¾ (6.42) efforts.

Round 4 was decisive. First, Florida senior Darrielle McQueen hit the board perfectly and took the narrowest of leads with a wind-legal 21-8¼ (6.61). Three jumps later, Orji attacked the board and stretched out to 21-10¾ (6.67) with a 1.2 wind. That would be enough for the win. She finished with two long fouls, and McQueen, probably hoping for a stronger breeze, managed a 21-6 (6.55) and no more. Iowa senior Jahisha Thomas jumped 21-5¼ (6.53) in the fifth round to pass David for 3rd.

Orji, 22, finally achieved the one collegiate win that had eluded her. “This year I competed really well, I PRed, and I’ve been executing really well at all my other meets,” she said. Regarding her future, she said, “I think I’m going to focus on the triple jump, but definitely continue to do the long jump. I’ll be going pro after my last meet.”


NCAA WOMEN’S LONG JUMP RESULTS

(June 07)

(winds ranged from +3.8 to –2.5)

1. Keturah Orji (Ga) 21-10¾ (6.67)

(f, 21-8, 21-1½, 21-10¾, f, f) (f, 6.60, 6.44, 6.67, f, f);

2. Darrielle McQueen (Fl) 21-8¼ (6.61)

(f, 19-10¼, 21-2¾, 21-8¼, 20-8, 21-6) (f, 6.05, 6.47, 6.61, 6.30, 6.55);

3. Jahisha Thomas’ (Ia) 21-5¼ (6.53)

(f, 20-11¼, f, f, 21-5¼, 21-3½) (f, 6.38, f, f, 6.53, 6.49);

4. *Yanis David’ (Fl) 21-4¼ (6.51)

(20-4¼, 21-4¼, 21-1½, 21-2½w, f, 21-2¾) (6.20, 6.51, 6.44, 6.46w, f, 6.47);

5. ***Tara Davis (Ga) 21-3¼w (6.48)

(f, 21-3¼w, f, f, 21-2, f) (f, 6.48w, f, f, 6.45, f);

6. Savannah Carson (Pur) 21-1¼w (6.43)

(20-10½, 20-½, f, f, 21-1¼w, f) (6.36, 6.11, f, f, 6.43w, f);

7. *Rougui Sow’ (SC) 21-¾w (6.42)

(19-10¼, 20-9, 21-¾w, 21-¾, 20-7, 21-¾) (6.05, 6.32, 6.42w, 6.42, 6.27, 6.42);

8. Madisen Richards (USC) 21-¾ (6.42) PR

(f, 20-1, 20-10½w, f, 20-1¾, 21-¾) (f, 6.12, 6.36w, f, 6.14, 6.42);

9. ***Tyra Gittens’ (TxAM) 20-11¼ (6.38)

(19-½, 20-11¼, 20-3¾, 18-3¾, 19-2½, 20-8½) (5.80, 6.38, 6.19, 5.58, 5.85, 6.31);

10. Dominique Bullock (Aub) 20-10½w (6.36);

11. Jhoanmy Luque’ (IaSt) 20-9¾ (6.34);

12. **Rhesa Foster (Or) 20-9w (6.32);

13. **Mercy Abire’ (OR) 20-7 (6.27);

14. **Destiny Longmire (SJSt) 20-5¼ (6.23) PR;

15. ***Anna Keefer (NC) 20-3 (6.17) PR;

16. **Kate Hall (Ga) 20-1¾ (6.14);

17. *Ja’la Henderson (Wy) 20-1 (6.12);

18. **Samiyah Samuels (Hous) 19-11¾ (6.09);

19. **Raynesha Lewis (Nb) 19-11 (6.07);

20. **Helena McLeod (NnAz) 19-11 PR;

21. Keishorea Armstrong (Bing) 19-9 (6.02);

22. *Jewel Smith (Md) 19-6 (5.94);

23. **Gabby Collins (WnMi) 19-3½ (5.88);

24. *LaTyria Jefferson (Ks) 18-8¾ (5.71). □

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