A historic World Track Championships for South Jersey!!!!!!!!!!

To understand how remarkable the year’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene was for South Jersey, consider this:

–> It had been 27 years since any South Jersey high school graduate was a finalist or placed in the top 12 in any men’s event at Worlds, and this year two did.

–> It had been 29 years since three South Jersey athletes were finalists or placed in the top 12 in any event at Worlds, and this year three did.

–> In the last 12 World Championships combined, two South Jersey athletes were finalists or in the top 12 in any men’s or women’s event. This year, three were.

And that’s all with Nia Ali, the defending 100-meter hurdles champ and a lock for the finals, not making it out of the trials after she crashed to the track after hitting the 9th hurdle.

Delsea graduate Josh Awotunde placed 3rd in the shot put with a personal-best 73-1 1/2, Cherokee graduate Jess Woodard placed 8th in the shot put with a throw of 61-3 1/2 and Florence graduate Curtis Thompson took 11th in the javelin with a throw of 258-3.

Awotunde is the first male medalist from South Jersey since 1993, when Edgewood graduate Dennis Mitchell was 3rd in both the 100 and 200 and ran the 3rd leg on the winning 400-meter relay team, and Woodbury’s Jack Pierce placed 3rd in the 110-meter hurdles.

Awotunde, Thompson and Woodard are the first throwers from South Jersey to ever reach the finals at the World Champi0nships.

The last time South Jersey had at least one male and female finalist at Worlds was the inaugural meet in 1983 – some 39 years ago – when Carl Lewis of Willingboro won the 100 and long jump and anchored the winning 400-meter relay team, and younger sister Carol placed 3rd in the long jump.

Here’s a look at every top-12 placer from South Jersey in meet history:

MEN
1983
[Helsinki]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 1st, 100-Meter Dash [10.07]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 1st, Long Jump [28-0 ½]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 1st, 400-Meter Relay (anchor) [37.86wr]

1987 [Rome]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 1st, 100-Meter Dash [9.93]
Jack Pierce [Woodbury], 4th, 110-Meter Hurdles [13.41]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 1st, Long Jump [28-5 ¼]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 1st, 400-Meter Relay (anchor) [37.90]
Dennis Mitchell [Edgewood], 1st, 400-Meter Relay (anchor heats, semis) [38.80, 38.33]

1991 [Tokyo]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 1st, 100-Meter Dash [9.86wr]
Dennis Mitchell [Edgewood], 3rd, 100-Meter Dash [9.91]
Jack Pierce [Woodbury], 2nd, 110-Meter Hurdles [13.06]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 2nd, Long Jump [29-2 ¾w, 29-1]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 1st, 400-Meter Relay (anchor) [37.50wr]
Dennis Mitchell [Edgewood], 1st, 400-Meter Relay (third leg) [37.50wr]

1993 [Stuttgart]
Dennis Mitchell [Edgewood], 3rd, 100-Meter Dash [9.99]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 4th, 100-Meter Dash [10.02]
Dennis Mitchell [Edgewood], 3rd, 200-Meter Dash [19.99]
Jack Pierce [Woodbury], 3rd , 110-Meter Hurdles [13.06]
Dennis Mitchell [Edgewood], 1st, 400-Meter Relay (third leg) [37.48]

1995 [Gothenburg]
Jack Pierce [Woodbury], 4th, 110-Meter Hurdles [13.27]

2022 [Eugene]
Josh Awotunde [Delsea], 3rd, Shot Put [73-1 ½]
Curtis Thompson [Florence], 11th, Javelin [258-3]

WOMEN
1983
[Helsinki]
Carol Lewis [Willingboro], 3rd, Long Jump [23-1w, 22-8 ¾]

2013 [Moscow]
English Gardner [Eastern], 4th, 100-Meter Dash [10.97]
English Gardner [Eastern], 2nd, 400-Meter Relay (third leg), [42.75]

2015 [Beijing]
English Gardner [Eastern], 2nd, 400-Meter Relay (first leg), [41.68]

2017 [London]
Nia Ali [Pleasantville], 8th, 100-Meter Hurdles [13.04]

2019 [Doha]
Nia Ali [Pleasantville], 1st, 100-Meter Hurdles [12.34]

2022 [Eugene]
Jessica Woodard [Cherokee], 8th, Shot Put [61-3 ½]

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