At Saturday’s NJSIAA Outdoor Track Meet of Champions Lyndhurst sophomore Julia Tozduman showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that she can more than hold her own with the best in the state by taking ninth place in the Long Jump with a leap of 16-08.25 at Franklin High School.
At the same time, Tozduman’s performance provided plenty of motivation for the next two seasons as her jump was just 1/4 of an inch short earning a coveted MOC medal.
“Seeing that I was less than an inch away from medaling makes me want to train even harder in the offseason to ensure that it doesn’t happen next year,” said Tozduman. “It proves to me that I can belong with the best of the best.
“It’s great to have been able to compete with all of the athletes there. I’m glad I had the opportunity to have been able to place ninth at MOC.”
Saturday’s performance capped off a breakout and historic sophomore season for Tozduman. She became the first Golden Bear athlete to qualify for the Outdoor Meet of Champions since 2017 when she took fourth in the Long Jump at the Group 2 championships on June 11, earning her The Observer Athlete of the Week honors.
This spring she also set a new school record in the Long Jump with a jump of 18-1 at the Gene Littler Bergen County Championship. According to NJ Milesplit, her 18-1 jump ranks her eighth in the state for the entire spring season and second among sophomores.
At the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2 championships, Tozduman won the Triple Jump title (34-11) and also medaled in the Long Jump (16-9.75) as well as the 200 (26.98) and 400 Meter Dash (1:01.34).
This winter, during the Indoor Track season, Tozduman also set school records in the Long Jump (16-11 at the Meet of Champions) and the 400 Meter Dash with a time of 1:02.00 at the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2 meet.
In a year that saw her break multiple records and hit several personal goals, she didn’t have a specific goal for this weekend
Said Tozduman, “My goal was to feel good coming out of this weekend because this experience was new to me and I know I have two years left to do even bigger things.”
Tozduman said she plans to train for track this summer, while also shifting to soccer as she gets prepared for her junior season.
Prior to Tozduman, the last Lyndhurst athlete to qualify for the Outdoor Meet of Champions since Caitlyn Blake in the Javelin. The last Golden Bear to medal in the MOC was Peter Guerriero when he took fourth in the 200 Meter Dash and sixth in the 100 Meter Dash in 2016.
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Jason Bernstein | Observer Sports Writer
Jason Bernstein joined The Observer as its sports writer in March 2022, following the retirement of Jim Hague. He has a wealth of sports-writing experience, including for NJ Advance Media (nj.com, The Jersey Journal, The Star-Ledger.)