Alaska’s Janay DeLoach is threatening to become the best women’s long jumper in the United States, if not the world. The former state champion out of Eielson High in Fairbanks continued to beat the best of the best, this time topping No. 1-ranked Brittney Reese at the 106th edition of the Millrose Games in New York over the weekend.
“This is my first time in New York for the Millrose Games and the atmosphere and the crowd were fun,” DeLoach told the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. “There is nothing like being around track fans. They are supportive and ignite the atmosphere.”
DeLoach won Saturday night’s long jump at 22 feet, 7¾ inches, beating her American Olympic teammate Reese by two inches and the rest of the field by two feet.
“Winning a prestigious meet like this means a lot, as I’m trying to continually better myself and have fun for the fans,” DeLoach said. “In all honestly I’ve heard of the Millrose Games and have been watching for years now but never thought I’d be in it.”
At the 2012 London Summer Olympics, Reese won gold; DeLoach bronze.
But since then, DeLoach has beaten her rival in the last four head-to-head competitions.
DeLoach, 27, was in first place after the first two jumps, then went a foot more on her third jump, which was the winning mark. She fouled on her fourth and fifth attempts before easing up on her sixth attempt.
“The third jump felt OK,” she said. “I dropped my head but I know it was the best jump of the series.”
Van Williams, a 20-year local sports writer and the former sports editor of the Anchorage Daily News, writes about the athletic exploits of Alaskans for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.