May 31, 2006
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Uzoma Orji used his second-to-last throw to win the shot put with a toss of 60'2.5" at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championship held this past weekend in Lisle, Ill. Before picking up his first outdoor national title victory, Orji finished second in the hammer throw with a mark of 198'4" on his last effort of the day. He accounted for all of MIT's 18 points, putting it in a tie for 15th place out of 66 teams.
After his outstanding performance, the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) named him the NCAA Division III Outdoor Field Athlete of the Meet. The award was Orji's first for the outdoor season and fourth overall. In addition, he raised his total of All-America honors to 12.
As the first thrower in the shot put, No. 2 seed Orji opened up with a throw of 58'9.5", his best mark of the season and the best in the country for Division III by two centimeters. The toss also established a new Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex record, surpassing the previous standard by 4'2.75". He maintained his position throughout the trials with his nearest competitor, No. 1 seed Nate Meckes (Calvin College) coming no closer than within a foot of Orji's mark.
By virtue of posting the best throw in the trials, Orji found himself throwing in the last spot in the finals. His opening toss was a distance of 58'0.5". In the second round, Orji set a new personal best and MIT record with his winning heave of 60'2.5".
In the hammer throw, Orji, again seeded No. 2, began with a sector foul but rebounded with a mark of 185' to place him second going into the finals. On his first attempt in the finals, he fouled but maintained his second-place position. As the competition continued, Orji dropped to fourth before his next throw. He then moved up a slot with a performance of 189'3". In the final round, no one behind Orji threatened his position. He capped the event by unleashing his second best throw in his career (198'4") to move back into second, falling short of first place by seven inches.
Uzoma Orji Career Recap
2005 runner-up for CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Athlete of the Year
Two-time CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America First Team selection