Keturah Orji, '14 Project grad, 8-time NCAA champ and
Woman of the Year shares her wisdom with clinic students
CONYERS, Ga. – Keturah Orji, who in the past five years at the University of Georgia and beyond has made NCAA and American triple jump history, is returning again to the NSAF’s Project Triple Jump to share her wisdom and experiences.
Orji’s special presentation Thursday night, November 14 at Heritage High School in Conyers, Ga., launches the first Project Triple Jump clinic to be held in the Atlanta metro area and Georgia in general. Orji was invited to join the Project in 2012 while a Mt. Olive HS (NJ) junior and was the nation’s best prep triple jumper through her graduation in 2014 – winning several New Balance National titles. Her career at UGA included eight NCAA titles and the collegiate athletic body’s greatest honor: NCAA Woman of the Year for 2018. Her achievement’s while at UGA also included a 4th-place finish in the 2016 Rio Olympics and she is a serious 2020 Olympic medal contender now as a pro for the Atlanta Track Club.
The clinic – which continues through Sunday morning – is open to any interested athletes and coaches. It will involve training sessions and classroom instruction. The registration link is HERE (https://www.athletic.net/TrackAndField/meet/386514/register) and information link HERE (https://www.nationalscholastic.org/clinics/triplejumpcamp).
Athletes attending the clinic will enjoy working with an incredible Project Triple Jump coaching staff, including Kenny Harrison, who set a still-standing Olympic record of 59 feet, 4-1/2 inches in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and is returning to the metro area for the first time in a coaching capacity. Harrison – who now resides in his hometown of Milwaukee and still maintains a high level of competitive fitness at 54 – joined the Project Triple Jump staff in 2018, working with Head Coach Peter Pratt, also the Bahamian national coach, and Project Coordinator Macka Jones from El Paso, Texas. The National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF), a non-profit that supports high school and Junior-age (Under-20) track and field in the U.S., launched Project Triple Jump in 2011.
Eight elite prep triple jumpers from around the country are selected to train with the Project each year, with the 2019-20 group including Jayla Brown of Powder Springs, Ga., a McEachern High School junior.
Orji has spoken with clinic athletes as a Project Triple Jump alum previously in recent years and there could hardly be a better role model for them. For four years at UGA she put the “student” AND the “athlete” in student-athlete and that’s why the NCAA recognized her with its prestigious award a year ago. Orji’s athletic achievements are profound: In addition to that mentioned above, she is a 5-time USA champion, American and NCAA record-setter, World Youth Championships double medalist and 2019 IAAF World Championship finalist.
But for Orji, it means even more to give something back and reach out to young athletes of all backgrounds. On her website, keturahorji.com, she shares her founding of Amara’s Pride, a mentoring program for 8th-grade girls in Athens, Ga. that reflects her passion for seeing growth and development for young women and is named for the beginning of her Nigerian name. In her blog posts, she has also crafted a “Letter to Student-Athletes” on academics which should be the gold medal standard for how to have a successful, well-balanced college career.
“I’m super excited to share my experiences and the knowledge I’ve gained from first being recruited in high school, to then training as a college athlete, and now transitioning to a professional athlete,” said Orji in advance of the clinic. “I hope my insight and encouragement will resonate with the young jumpers and they will be motivated to continue to work hard to be able to achieve their dreams not only in in athletics, but in all areas of life.”
Orji is also looking forward to meeting Kenny Harrison, who was not yet with the Project when she was a prep and achieved the sport’s greatest honor – the Olympic Gold – in Orji’s adopted home state 23 years ago. “I’m looking forward to meeting Kenny Harrison and receiving some advice from him. It’s always great to be around successful and accomplished athletes! I hope the young jumpers are taking advantage of being around him and learning from the best.”
And it’s also special to return to the Project, five years after she graduated. “Attending this event will remind me of my time in high school when I really knew nothing about my potential or how much jumping would change my life. It is always great to look back, reminisce, and be grateful for how far I have come as a person and in the sport.
About the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation
The National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF) was founded in 1990. It is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501 c (3) organization with the mission of opening doors to the world for our youth, through athletics, and providing them opportunities to succeed. That includes supporting high school and junior-aged track and field athletes in the US through national high school competitions, including the New Balance Indoor and Outdoor Nationals; clinics and event-specific special projects; vigorous grant programs, which enable high school athletes to compete around the country, at USATF Junior Nationals, and internationally; and with program development grants, which are awarded in the winter and fall each year. The NSAF provides approximately $250,000 in grants annually. For information about how to get involved with NSAF, please visit nationalscholastic.org.
About Project Triple Jump
Project Triple Jump was launched in the Fall of 2011 with the ongoing goal of identifying emerging elite youth and junior triple jump talent and provide them with the best technical and training methods available. As a “podium project,” the ultimate goal is to maximize athletes’ development to become international level jumpers in order represent the United States in Olympic/World Championship events. For more information, please visit https://www.nationalscholastic.org/clinics/triplejumpcamp