Burks leaps past long-standing UA recordBy Elliott Propes | 01/28/2016 11:15am
The indoor track and field team will compete in the Indiana Relays on Friday, Jan. 9. | UA Athletics
Upon her arrival, the junior makes her way to the track and walks past a few plaques every time. She gives one a glance and her name “Quanesha Burks” stares back at her with the outdoor long jump school record of 22 feet and 9 inches. There is one other plaque she always glances at. The plaque reads the indoor long jump record of 21 feet and 3 inches held by Flora Hyacinth from 1986. It still resides in the Coliseum.
“Every day I always walk by the wall and see the records, and I always knew that Flora, the lady that had it for 28 years,” Burks said. “I was like, ‘I’m going to beat that record one day.’ ”
Now that plaque is coming down. Last weekend at the Conference clash in Birmingham, Burks glided past the record for nine more inches. Now two plaques will carry her name, and the only record to beat will be her own.
“Honestly I didn’t know I broke the record,” Burks said. “I didn’t even think about it until the article came out, and I was like ‘oh my gosh,’ and I literally started crying.”
Friend and teammate, Vanessa Clerveaux, said she first noticed Burks’ capability last April. She knew then her friend had the potential to break the record.
“I wasn’t shocked by her performance at all, because she at least last year was really working on being consistent,” Clerveaux said. “Her consistency brought her to that jump in Oklahoma, when everyone was like, ‘Why was she in the air for so long?’ ”
That jump at the John Jacobs Invitational was the first of many astonishing lengths. Burks jumped for a career best 21 feet and 9 inches to claim the title, but she would soon surpass that for an even greater feat. In June, Burks made it to NCAA Outdoor Championships. Again she outdid her last performance and claimed the national title with a jump of 22 feet and 8 inches.
Still, Burks believes there is plenty of room for improvement. In August at the NACAC, she improved by another inch, and last weekend, she claimed another record with her first jump in months. Right now, with the season only being a week old, Burks holds the best jump in the nation.
“I honestly think I can go really farther than I am,” Burks said. “I’m very grateful to open up with a 22-0. With the meet I wasn’t really consistent with my approaches, so it was a little bit of a struggle. So if I get all of that together, there is no telling what can happen.”
Burks is also off to a great start in another event. At the Commodore Invitational, she raced a personal best 7.33 in the 60-meter race. That time is currently the 12th-fastest in the nation. This weekend she will compete in that event again along with the rest of the No. 15 Alabama women’s track and field teams at the Indiana Relays in Bloomington, Indiana. Another record-breaking performance for Burks could be a few days away.