UA Track & Field Signs USA Triple Jump Champion
May 8, 2003
TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona track and field program has signed defending USA triple jump champion Yuliana Perez to a National Letter of Intent announced head coach Fred Harvey on Thursday. She will join the squad for the 2003-2004 season.
Perez was born in Tucson, but at the age of three, she went to live with relatives in Cuba. She became a standout triple jumper and long jumper as a teenager, winning a silver medal at the 1997 Junior Pan-American Games for Cuba. She was dropped from the Cuban track and field program after refusing to give up her American citizenship, and eventually returned to Tucson in early 2000. She was introduced to Pima Community College track coaches, which jumpstarted her collegiate career.
In 2000, Perez won the national junior college titles in the triple jump and long jump. She posted bests of 45-11 ï¿½ in the triple jump and 20-1 ï¿½ in the long jump.
She jumped onto the national scene in 2001 finishing second at the USA Outdoor Championships in the triple jump with a leap of 45-10 ï¿½ (13.98m). She posted her personal best of 46-10 ï¿½ (14.29m) at the 2001 World University Games, where she finished fourth overall. She finished the season ranked No. 2 by Track and Field News. Perez's success continued in 2002 when she won the USA Outdoor title in the triple jump with a leap of 46-7 ï¿½ (14.20m).
'We're extremely happy to have someone of that level - a USA national champion - join our team,' commented Harvey. 'It's a rare thing to have a reigning champion choose to continue their education.'