Jasmine Moore Emerging As A 2-Event Threat

As part of her NCAA double wins Jasmine Moore claimed the Collegiate Record in the TJ. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

AS REPUTATION WOULD HAVE IT, Jasmine Moore has always been good at both of the horizontal jumps. In high school (Lake Ridge, Mansfield, Texas) she won State titles in both and made the finals of the ’18 World Juniors in both. But only recently, since her transfer from Georgia to Florida, has the 20-year-old flourished in both, winning a pair of NCAA Indoor titles — and being named our Collegiate AOY — as compelling evidence.

She had always been considered a triple jumper first, and that’s perhaps a fair characterization in light of her new Collegiate Record (47-9/14.55). When she graduated from high school, she stood as the No. 3 prep in U.S. history with her 44-10 (13.66) best. In contrast, her long jump mark of 20-11¾ (6.39) put her at No. 22. At Georgia, though, she placed 2nd in the NCAA in the triple last year, and 3rd in the long jump—not a huge difference.

She says her confidence in the long jump is growing: “Definitely. It hasn’t always been and it’s still not as high as in the triple jump, but I’ve gotten better with trusting myself. Coach Nic [Peterson] has given me a lot of confidence, plus me just telling myself that I’m a horizontal jumper, not just a triple jumper. So having him and then performing well has definitely given me a lot of confidence.”

It has been a year of change for Moore. “[NCAA] Indoor last year was very disappointing. I of course wanted to do better than how I did, which was 8th in the long jump and 4th in the triple jump. Going into outdoor season, I was trying to change my mindset. It did obviously improve, because I was able to do a lot better at NCAAs and make the Olympic team and whatnot.

“There were definitely ups and downs. I learned a lot from my coach there, but I think my mental health there wasn’t the best, so that kind of hindered my performances.” She focused on the triple in the post-season, placing 3rd at the OT with her 46-5¼ (14.15), but failing to make the final in Tokyo after going only 45-1¾ (13.76) in qualifying.

“Making the Olympic team is always a big accomplishment—it’s everyone’s goal. But to make the Olympic team and then to get there and not perform my best, it hurt a little bit and it hurt my confidence. But just knowing that I made it to the Olympics gives me a lot of confidence during the collegiate season. Just being able to learn from so many amazing athletes on Team USA and compete against the best, it’s definitely made me a tougher athlete and now going forward, I know what to expect.”

Once she decided to leave Georgia, Moore, a Marketing major, says that Florida was an easy choice based on academics and the reputation of the Gator’s business school. “That made sense. And athletically, I knew I was going to be able to train with Claire [Bryant] and Natricia [Hooper], so that was a help. I was going to have good training partners and I knew what I could do if I was on the team and that we could potentially win a national title. I knew coach Nic because he recruited me out of high school. My whole family was comfortable with the decision.

“The transition to Florida was honestly very simple because, like I say, Nic and I were really close and then we took a break from each other and now we picked it right back up, like I never left,” she says with a laugh.

Peterson, whose coaching résumé has included a host of Gator notables over the years, including Olympians Marquis Dendy, Will Claye and Yanis David, so far hasn’t opted to change Moore’s technique in any major way.

She says, “I’ve worked a lot on my speed and that’s definitely helped me to get to the 14m-mid range. He’s been making sure my angles are correct, my knee placements, my arm placements are in the right position. That’s the major thing we’ve done at Florida so far.”

Moore says another factor in her recent success is that she has successfully reconfigured her mindset, and she points to a pivotal speech from Gator head Mike Holloway. “He had a talk with us at the beginning of the year and he was like, ‘You might be the best in the country in your event, but you might not be the best on this team.’

“That was a very important and humbling conversation that a lot of coaches might not actually have to have on their team. Our team is just so talented. Just seeing Anna [Hall] win the first day [at NCAAs], I’m like, ‘OK, then I want to do an amazing long jump.’ And then I think of me and Natricia doing triple jump and doing well, it kind of helped Grace [Stark] and Talitha [Diggs] and everyone else just do well and keep it going.”

Looking ahead, Moore says that she, along with her teammates, is hoping for similar success outdoors. “Our team definitely wants to win NCAAs again outdoors. I’m making sure that I do my part, that I’m able to contribute my points to the team.

“And of course, making the Worlds team again is a big goal of mine, just to make that team again and keep doing well and keep performing against the best.”

With aspirations of being competitive at the international level, Moore says she has a handle on what she needs to focus on technically: “I need to keep making sure my speed is good and my approach is on point. That’s something that I’ve worked on a lot. There are some things that I need to work on just as hard, like pushing off for my first phase and just being able to hold my second phase for as long as possible. My goal is to at least make it to the finals. As long as I can do those things, I think I can keep getting better.”

In the qualifying round in Tokyo, Moore found herself in the same flight as eventual winner Yulimar Rojas. “It’s just so amazing watching her do that at such a high level and make it look so effortless… When I didn’t make it to the final, I was able to watch everyone and just see how they competed. I think taking that and learning from that experience helped a lot.”

An old hand at Junior teams, Moore says what she has learned competing on Senior teams internationally has been crucial: “This is all they do. This is what they do. Their expectations for their selves and their competitiveness are on a different level. My job is to make sure I’m up to par and I bring my best.”