AMES — Early in this outdoor track and field season, Iowa State jumper Jhoanmy Luque set a new personal record for herself with a triple jump of 44 feet, 9 1/2 inches.
The jump was also the best in the nation.
Recently, Luque’s jump was bested by defending national champion Keturah Orji of Georgia, who jumped an astonishing 47 feet, 1/4 inch.
This weekend at the Drake Relays, Luque will participate in the triple jump for the first time since her record-setting leap.
“This year, we have nice weather and I’m really excited about that,” Luque said. “My previous year and the year before that, it was terrible. I was really hoping this year would be better so I could get a good mark and give a good performance. Last year it was raining and cold and it was bad. I usually jump really well at Drake and the atmosphere and having a lot of people is a lot of fun.”
The atmosphere at the Relays is something unique in collegiate track. Most track meets have a hard time getting 500 people to attend.
Thousands of people will attend the Drake Relays.
Luque believes it makes athletes compete their best.
“It’s a great sensation because you have that desire to compete and hit a great jump because the stadium will go crazy,” Luque said.
She knows that feeling well. She’s competed at the World Championships and three times at the NCAA Championships.
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“My first time at Worlds I was so nervous, but throughout the years, I’ve gotten more used to it,” Luque said. “I’ve been to NCAAs three years in a row, so I’ve gotten used to having a lot of people in the stadium.
Luque is also a long jumper. She currently has the 21st-best jump in the nation with a jump of 20 feet, 7 3/4 inches.
She plans on only jumping three times on the long jump because she’s competed in the event the last couple of weekends and wants to focus on the triple jump.
Iowa State as a whole isn’t sending a lot of its top athletes because they already have times that will qualify them for the NCAA West Preliminaries next month.
Women’s distance standout Jasmine Staebler won’t be running any individual events at the Drake Relays and on the men’s side, distance runner Edwin Kurgat, among others, won’t be competing.
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