University of Georgia grad Keturah Orji may be new on the pro scene, but she's far from a rookie. The eight-time NCAA champion placed fourth in the triple jump at the 2016 Olympic Games, holds collegiate, NCAA and American indoor records in that event (14.53 meters) and won the 2018 USATF outdoor championship with a U.S. championship record (14.59 meters).
Now a graduate student and assistant coach at Georgia, Orji is also one of 10 nominees for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, which will be announced Oct. 28.
Orji's choice of music helps her keep perspective on the pressure that comes with competing. "When I'm making a playlist, I like to have a combination of gospel, rap and Afrobeats genres. I usually begin with gospel because ultimately I would not be where I am today without God," she says. "It also reminds me not to put so much pressure on myself because my identity isn't rooted in my performance on the track."
When it's time to warm up, the "cocky" lyrics typical of rap get the 22-year-old pumped up to compete. "Listening to this music reminds me to be confident and assures me of what I'm able to accomplish," she says.
And for downtime and training, "Afrobeats ... brings out the energetic, fun and childish side of me," she says. "If I were to play this music while warming up I would probably end up dancing rather than focusing!"
She shared her favorite songs from each of the different genres: