Uzoma Orji Paces Nation With Thunderous Throw
Feb. 12, 2005
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The MIT Engineers split its squad this weekend, as some of Tech's regional stars squared off at a power-packed field in BU's Valentine's Day Invitational. The rest of the track and field squad stayed on the other side of the river at the MIT Coed Invitational.
Junior Uzoma Orji enjoyed a break-out performance on the same weekend for the second consecutive year. Only this time, it was a different event. While Orji caused a national stir last season in the shot put, his emergence in the weight throw this season has signaled a dual threat for the competition at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
On Friday at Boston University, Orji set an MIT varsity record, and took over the No. 1 spot in the Division III national rankings with a weight throw of 62'6.75". The toss obliterated the standing Institute record of 61'6" set in 1985 by Pat Parris. At the same meet, the defending national champion finished fourth overall in the shot put with a mark of 54'4", falling only to Division I competition.
The Engineers had other highlights on Friday, including Ben Schmeckpeper's provisional qualification for nationals in the 5000. Shmeckpeper finished 18th overall with a time of 14:40.66. David Saylor also enjoyed a top-ten finish, closing at seventh in the weight throw, while Tech's distance medley relay missed on its attempt at an NCAA cut, splitting 10:18.30.
Nestor Hernandez led Saturday's performers, leading a one-two-three sweep in the pole vault. Josh Chartier and Omari Stephens finished behind Hernandez, who also finished second overall in the long jump (21'7.75"). Peter Mulligan authored MIT's only other victory, taking top honors in the 1000.