Lyndhurst’s Tozduman takes ninth in Long Jump at Meet of Champions

The 2022-23 high school sports year came to a close with Thursday’s NJSIAA Meet of Champions and for Lyndhurst junior Julia Tozduman, it marked the conclusion of one of the best track & field seasons by any Observer area girl in recent memory.

Tozduman left Franklin High School with a ninth place finish in the Long Jump with a leap of 17-04.25. It marked the second year in a row that she finished ninth in the event, but this time it was accomplished with a much deeper and talented field of competitors. Last year, when she placed ninth, it was with a jump of 16-08.25.

For good measure, Tozduman took 20th in the Triple Jump at 35-10.25. It marked the first time she qualified for the Meet of Champions in the Triple Jump.

“Julia is one of the hardest working athletes I have ever been around,” Lyndhurst coach Rich Tuero said. “She trains all year round and deserved this!

“It meant everything to me to see her reach her goal.”

Among the many goals Tozduman met this junior year, was taking the gold in both the Long and Triple Jumps at the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2 Championships this first weekend in June, a meet that also saw her medal in the High Jump, an event she first started competing in this spring.

On April 14, at the Aviator Invitational Relays, Tozduman smashed the school record in the Long Jump with a leap of 18-06.25. She then broke her own record just four weeks later with an 18-07.50 in the Gene Littler Bergen County Championships.

In March, Tozduman became the first Lyndhurst girl to ever medal at the NJSIAA Indoor Meet of Champions when she took fifth place in the Long Jump with a leap of 17-04.25.

As impressive as this junior season was, there’s no doubt in Tuero’s mind that she’ll have an even bigger senior season.

“The best is yet to come with Julia,” said Tuero. “She’s going to have an entire offseason of training. Senior year is going to be huge.”

Tozduman wasn’t the only Golden Bear to qualify for the Meet of Champions. Sophomore Yasemin Ugurlu took 23rd in the Triple Jump at 34-07.25.

The fact that Ugurlu qualified for the Meet of Champions as a sophomore wasn’t necessarily a surprise. The event that she qualified for, however, was. During the Bergen County Meet of Champions on May 19, Ugurlu set a personal best in the Javelin with a throw of 116-7, which ranked 21st in the state this spring. Ugurlu, who took second in the Javelin during the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2 Championships, had a disappointing performance in the Group 2 championships, which Tuero believes will be a major motivator heading into next season.

“She’s only going to grow from this experience,” said Tuero. “She had a bad day at groups, but that fire is going to burn inside of her, which will cause her to train even harder and earn a spot at MOC for Javelin and the Triple Jump.”

Also on Thursday, Bloomfield’s 4×400 Meter Relay team of Cristian Armstrong, James Fields, Kalel Deimedici and Nathaniel Brown finished 14th with a time of 3:24.74.

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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 (, The Jersey Journal, The Star-Ledger.)