For a list of the other Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year, click here
THE WINNER: Keturah Orji
School: Mount Olive (Flanders, N.J.)
Athletic achievement: She leapt 43 feet, 0.5 inches in the triple jump and launched herself 20-11.75 in the long jump to win both events at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor championships this month. The Girls’ Indoor Track Athlete of the Year as named by The Star-Ledger, Orji also won the triple jump and long jump at the Group III championships as well as the state’s Meet of Champions. Her triple jump of 44-1.25 at the Meet of Champions and her long jump effort at New Balance ranked, respectively, as the nation’s No. 13 and No. 22 performances in prep history.
Academic excellence: Orji has maintained a 3.85 GPA.
Exemplary character: Also an accomplished flutist in her school’s wind ensemble and a member of the World Language Honor Society, she has volunteered on behalf of her church’s youth group and Vacation Bible School.
“She possesses not only the will to succeed and be the best, but most importantly she possesses the will to prepare to win,” said Mount Olive head coach Vanessa Benfatti. “She is dedicated to mastering her craft, and throughout her development as a world-class athlete she does not take her skill and talents for granted. She continually works to improve her performance and is driven to excel in each practice, lifting session, workout, meet or event.”
THE FUTURE: Orji has signed with Georgia.