Delsea graduate Josh Awotunde, mired in seventh place with one throw to go, bombed one of the best throws of his life on his final collegiate attempt and placed second in the NCAA Championships Wednesday at historic Hayward Field in Eugene.
Awotunde earned All-America honors for the fourth time in his illustrious career at South Carolina with his second-place finish at 67-6.
Awotunde barely advanced out of the qualifying rounds. The top nine throwers after three throws advance to a three-throw final, and Awotunde threw 62-10 1/2, 64-6 1/2 and 64-6 3/4 in the trials, taking the ninth and final qualifying spot. Tenth place was Payton Otterdahl of North Dakota State, who threw 64-4 1/2. So Awotunde advanced by less than 2 1/2 inches.
After a 62-9 1/4 to open the finals, Awotunde improved from ninth to seventh with a 66-1 3/4 on his fifth throw, then — down to the final throw of his career — he unloaded a 67-6 to move past Mostafa Hassan of Colorado State (67-0 3/4), Adrian Piperi of Texas (66-11 1/2), Jordan Geist of Arizona (66-8) and Oghenakpobo Efekoro of Virginia (66-6 1/2) into second place.
Georgia junior Denzel Comenentia threw 67-7 1/2 on his fifth attempt to win the national title.
Awotunde is the Gamecocks school record holder with a 68-1 3/4 from the SEC Championships last month in Knoxville.
Awotunde also earned All-America honors outdoors in 2016 (7th at 63-9) and indoors in 2017 (5th with 64-6) and 2018 (3rd with 66-1 1/4).
He also threw the discus 191-11 during his career at South Carolina.
At Delsea, Awotunde was a Meet of Champions winner in the shot in 2013 and runner-up to Braheme Days Jr. of Bridgeton in the discus.