There aren’t too many things that Julia Tozduman hasn’t accomplished on the track in a high school career that still has more than a year remaining. But this past weekend at the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 championships in South Plainfield, Lyndhurst’s star junior found a way to continue raising the bar.
On Friday’s first day of the meet, Tozduman repeated as North 2, Group 3 Triple Jump champion with a leap of 35-07.00. One day later, she returned to South Plainfield and won her first ever section title in the Long Jump with a jump of 17-04.75.
Two days, two gold medals, and a new standard set.
“Being the state sectional champion for both Long Jump and Triple was definitely something I was working towards all season long,” Tozduman said. “Being a double gold medalist is something I have worked toward since freshman year.”
Despite finishing ninth in the Long Jump at the Outdoor Meet of Champions last spring and fifth at the Indoor Meet of Champions this past March, Tozduman never won the state sectional in the event.
On Saturday, she did so with plenty of distance to spare, finishing a full six and a half inches ahead of runner up Amanda Dean of Parsippany.
The Long Jump title capped off a busy weekend for Tozduman. Shortly after winning the Triple Jump on Friday, she had to get ready for her newest event, the High Jump. Tozduman, who is competing in the event for the first time this spring, responded with a personal best of 5-0, which was good enough for third place and qualifies her for the overall Group 2 championships next weekend at Delsea High School.
“I tried High Jump in the beginning of the season because our high jump relay needed a third member for the Aviator Relays,” said Tozduman. “I ended up clearing 4-10 and loved the event. From that moment on, I’d train for it and compete at meets in the high jump.
“I was so excited to qualify in High Jump because it shows how hard I have been working towards it.”
Tozduman isn’t the only Golden Bear who qualified in three events for the Group 2 Championships. Teammate Kayla Carrino continued a stellar senior season by placing third in the 800 Meter Run (2:26.93) and 3200 Meter Run (11:40.71) as well as sixth in the 1600 Meter Run.
Sophomore Yasemin Ugurlu also medalled in two events, taking second in the Javelin with a throw of 114-02.00 and fourth in the Triple Jump at 34-04.00. Another sophomore, Asya Akar took sixth in the Discus with a throw of 90-09.00.
As a team Lyndhurst took fifth place in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2 team standings.
On the boys side, Lyndhurst had four different medalists who are moving on to the Group 2 championships next weekend. Two of those qualifiers were in the High Jump as Rilwan Olunlade placed third with a jump of 5-10.00 and Jose Baca took fourth at 5-08.00.
Anthony Santana finished third in the Long Jump at 20-06.00 and Tyler Wise finished sixth in the 400 Meter Dash at 51.15.
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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.)