Luque caps off historic Drake Relays for Iowa State with triple jump win

Iowa State’s Jhoanmy Luque competes in the triple jump at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on April 28, 2018. Luque won with a personal record of 44 feet-11 inches.  

Spencer Suckow

Jhoanmy Luque waited anxiously by the scoreboard at the 30-yard line of Johnny Bright Field.

Following the final jump she’d ever have at the Drake Relays, Luque wasn’t worried if she’d win. That result was decided after her third jump, a 44-foot-8 leap that ultimately guaranteed her a sweep of the long and triple jump for the second consecutive year.

In fact, given that she had things wrapped up after the third jump, Luque didn’t even need to take the final three jumps given to her if she didn’t want to. But Luque wanted more than the win. She wanted a new personal record.

Even after her fifth jump, a season best mark of 44-feet-9 ¾, Luque still wasn’t satisfied. Her coach asked her if she wanted to call it quits for the day, knowing full well that the senior had nothing else to prove. Luque declined. She wanted one more.

“I had something in me that I was like ‘this is the jump,’” Luque said. “I told my coach, ‘I’m ready. I just need one more jump. There’s something in me that I know that I can have a great jump.’”

So Luque took that final jump, got out of the sand and walked over to the scoreboard. When her score flashed on the screen, Luque smiled to the sky with vindication. A 44-feet-11 jump, a new all-conditions personal record.

The new record for Luque was the cherry on top of an unprecedented performance in Drake Relay’s history. By sweeping the long and triple jump for the second straight year, Luque became the first woman in the 108-year history of the event to accomplish such a feat.

On top of that, with her final jump, Luque lands in second place all-time in Iowa State history in the triple jump, just short of the all-time mark at Iowa State set by Agata Kosuda back in 2005 at the Big 12 Conference championships.

While Luque said it was “crazy” to be the woman to ever go back-to-back at the Drake Relays and add two more white Relaychampion flags to her collection, she also acknowledged that she wanted Kosuda’s record with her final jump.

Luque will get another chance again in two weeks, in exact same setting where Kosuda got her record.

“I had a great mark,” Luque said. “I was hoping to get the record for Iowa State, but hopefully I can get it for [Big 12 Championships] in two weeks. I just have to keep training and putting everything together.”

Luque’s performance was the highlight of an otherwise light day for the Cyclone women on Saturday. After a memorable night on Friday that featured Luque’s long jump victory and a first-place finish in the 4×800 relay, Iowa State had entries in only three other events outside of Luque and Jalaiya Bartley (who also earned a new personal record with a jump of 40-feet-4) in the triple jump.

Results-wise, the best of these events for Iowa State was the women’s distance medley, where Iowa State finished third of 11 teams with a time of 11:19.26. The result was respectable, given that all four runners in the event, Karly Ackley, Emma Whigham, Erinn Stenman-Fahey and Jasmine Staebler, previously competed on Friday night.

In fact, not only did they compete, but Stenman-Fahey and Staebler were part of the 4×800 team that took first place and Ackley part of the 4×1600 team that took second. Knowing what they already achieved this weekend, it was hard to feel anything but positivity.

“We’re really happy with our performances here,” Staebler said. “We really tried to get prepared for this event and wanted to make the most out of Drake relays. It’s really cool coming and racing in this stadium with all the energy.”

Staebler, who competed at the Drake Relays in high school, said that racing in the stadium provides a different feeling now than in college. Whereas in high school the Relays were the biggest event of the year, college provides her and the rest of the team other opportunities to compete in high pressure environments.

The team will get the chance to compete in an even higher pressure environment again in two weeks, when they head down with Luque and the rest of the Cyclones to the Big 12 Championships in Waco, Texas.

The runners in particular have had a strong outdoor season to date, with each meet seemingly better than the last. As multiple team members set new personal records over the course of the season, the team says that feeding off of each others’ triumphs has played a huge role in their own individual improvements.

“I think it really helps when the whole team is having success,” Stenman-Fahey said. ”You can really build off of other peoples’ performances and it creates a really good energy in the group.”