Quanesha Burks wins the LJ in a windy 7.06 meters!
By Aaron Heisen
SOJC Track Bureau
Quanesha Burks strutted off the sand after her first attempt in the long jump finals at the USATF outdoor national championship. On the attempt, Burks leaped into the front of the competition and didn’t look back.
With a wind-aided jump of 23 feet, 2 inches (7.06 meters), she won Thursday’s final and became the U.S. outdoor champion.
“After jumping the 7.06, I knew that was it,” Burks said. “So, I was very confident and comfortable.”
Coming into the meet, Burks had yet to hit the standard for the World Athletics Championships, which is 22-4¼ (6.82 meters). Burks’ first jump was wind-aided, so it did not count for the standard. Therefore, after that first jump, she shifted her focus to meeting that mark.
In the end, Burks fell short. However, she feels “very good” that she will earn a spot on that team based on the world rankings.
Jasmine Moore finished second, Tiffany Flynn finished third and Monae’ Nichols finished fourth. Moore and Nichols have hit that mark and will represent the United States at the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field next month.
On her first attempt, Moore jumped 22 3 ¾, which vaulted her into second place just behind Burks.
“That put me in a good position to kind of just fight through the rest of the competition,” Moore said.
Moore returned to Hayward Field after winning the NCAA Championship for the University of Florida in the long jump on June 9 and following up with the triple jump title two days later. On Thursday, she felt “less stressful” than at the NCAAs and she improved on her title-winning mark by 3 inches.
“I definitely put more pressure on myself at NCAAs because, of course, I wanted to win, but I also wanted to score points for my team,” Moore said. “This one was kind of just for myself. I wanted to go out there and just show myself I could do it and long jump with the best.”
Burks has now won both the outdoor and indoor national championships. She credited much of her success to her coach Brittney Reese.
“She’s been a great mentor to me this year,” Burks said. “She told me to not worry about the results and to just stay locked in and remember who I am.”
Reese also helped Burks fight through a tumultuous 2021 season, during which she dealt with a bone bruise in the femur of her take-off leg up until the U.S. Olympic trials.
Then, at the trials, Reese was in her ear as she fought to qualify for the team.
“At the Olympic trials last year, I was knocked down in sixth place,” Burks said. “I went to her and she was like, ‘Remember what you’ve done in practice. Focus on your approach, and it’s going to come.’”
With the help of Reese’s advice, Burks finished third in the trials.
While Reese wasn’t able to make the trip out to Eugene, Oregon, and be there to congratulate Burks, the two shared a phone call shortly after the event.
“It’s a tradition,” Burks said.
After the win, she planned to go to Handel’s Ice Cream to get strawberry cheesecake with caramel drizzle.