Olympic bronze medalist Janay DeLoach Soukup, who still holds the Alaska girls long jump record, seized a national championship in the event Saturday and qualified for the World Championships in Moscow, Russia, later this summer.
DeLoach Soukup, 27, leaped 22 feet, 7.25 inches on her first of three preliminary jumps at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, to claim for first national outdoor title. She is a three-time U.S. indoor champion, world indoor silver medalist and last summer finished third at the Olympics in London.
DeLoach Soukup went 21-10 on her second preliminary jump, then passed on her third and last prelim jump before passing on all three attempts she had in the finals.
She beat runner-up Tori Polk (22-3.75) and third-place finisher Funmi Jimoh (22-0.25).
DeLoach Soukup owns a personal best of 23-0.75.
Reigning Olympic champion Brittney Reese did not register a mark in Saturday's long jump. Reese, who is battling a hip injury, already is qualified for Moscow because she is the reigning world champion.
As a prep athlete for Eielson High, DeLoach won four consecutive state long jump titles, and set a state record each of her last three seasons. Her 2003 mark of 19-5 as a senior remains the state standard. DeLoach also won the state 100-meter title her last three seasons at Eielson and she was also an all-state basketball player.
DeLoach Soukup, a graduate of Colorado State, trains at the school in Fort Collins.
The World Outdoor Championships are set for Aug. 10-18 in Moscow.
Anchorage Daily News