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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Keturah Orji, a 2014 Mount Olive High School graduate, became the first U.S. woman to qualify for the triple jump final at the Olympics since Sheila Hudson in 1996.
Orji advanced to the final round, which will take place Sunday, August 14 at 7:55 p.m. EDT, after clinching the 12th and final spot Saturday morning at the Olympic Stadium.
Orji, who is now a junior at University of Georgia, only had one legal jump out of three attempts in the qualifying round but that’s all she needed. Orji jumped 14.08m (46-2.50) and that advanced her to the final round.
“Warming up felt like the usual, but when I took my first attempt. It was a big jump but it was a final. My coach was kind of upset I fouled it. My second jump, I just needed to get a mark. So I got that mark in, but the third one I fouled again. I was kind of upset with the two fouls, because both were good jumps. Hopefully I can get back for the final and come back stronger. I’m happy to make the final, too. I’m in the Olympic final. That’s crazy,” Orji said in a press release from USA Track & Field.
Orji is the NCAA and Olympic Trials champion also the American record holder.
Christina Epps, a 2009 graduate of Morristown High School, finished 15th in the triple jump qualifying round with a jump of 14.01m (45-11.75).
“I had a great morning and great warmup. It was an awesome atmosphere and a good experience. I can’t complain about much. I went out there and did the best I could. It just didn’t work out in my favor,” Epps said in a press release from USA Track & Field.