Long-time rivals Bridgeton High School graduate Braheme Days, a sophomore at UCLA, and Delsea graduate Josh Awotunde, a sophomore at South Carolina, both became first-time first-team All-America picks after placing fifth and seventh in the shot put at the NCAA Championships.
Days and Awotunde have been battling since the 2011 season, when both were sophomores at South Jersey high schools 16 miles apart.
In the 2013 New Jersey Meet of Champions, Awotunde and Days finished 1-2 in the shot put, and Days and Awotunde went 1-2 in the discus.
At NCAAs, Days surpassed 20 meters (65-7 1/4) for only the second time in his life, recording the second-best throw of his life, and Awotunde hit a big PR.
Days, whose PR is 66-3 1/2 from a meet in San Diego in April, threw 65-8 1/2 on his final attempt at NCAAs at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Awotunde also saved his best for last, following three consecutive fouls with his personal-best of 63-9 on his final throw.
Days won three national shot put titles at Bridgeton and was an eight-time schoolboy All-America. He’s a USATF junior champ and the U.S. junior record holder.And now he’s a first-team All-America.
Days series looked like this: 63-7 3/4, 63-9 1/2 and foul in the trials, then 63-4 1/2, 64-8 1/2 and 65-8 3/4 in the finals.
Awotunde went into NCAAs with a PR of 62-3 from the SEC Championships in May in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He approached it with a 61-11 3/4 on his first throw, then PR’d at 62-10 1/2 on his second throw before fouling on his final attempt of the trials and first two throws of the finals. On his final attempt, he PR’d again at 63-9.
Awotunde barely qualified for NCAAs and was the No. 21 seed out of 24 throwers before making a mockery of the form chart and placing seventh overall.