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John Owens

Redshirt freshman Estefany Cruz, who hails from Guatemala, is a world-class track and field athlete in the triple jump event. During the past summer she finished ninth in the Pan Am games while representing her country. Her strong results were made more impressive by the fact that, at 20, she was the second-youngest participant in the field. Her goals don’t stop at the Pan Am games, though; in the future she wants to represent Guatemala on even bigger stages.

“To have represented my country was a great honor,” Cruz said. “I was competing against some of the best athletes in the world in my event. It was something that I had never experienced before and, now more than ever, I really want to continue training and qualify to compete in the Olympic Games.”

Given that Cruz represented her country to the world, it seems only natural that she would have no trouble to adjusting life in New Orleans.

“My transition from Guatemala to the United States was amazing,” Cruz said. “I was afraid to move here because I had never lived away from home before. However, it has helped me to mature and grow as a person. Also, the opportunities this country is able to offer me are far more important to me. In general, I love America.”

Her dedication to the Green Wave and her sport haven’t gone unnoticed by coach Eric Peterson, who said that he sees a bright future for the standout freshman. Her teammates also sing her praises.

“She’s incredibly dedicated and talented, fun to train with and amazing to watch,” sophomore distance runner Charlotte Manogue said.

This season yielded great results for Cruz, who has done well by her own, admittedly high, standards. Perhaps her greatest strength is her self-awareness and willingness to see challenges as something to be tackled. Cruz knows that to reach her goals both inside and outside of the classroom this year, she is going to have to push herself.

“The biggest challenge that I have this season is that I have to try to stay at the top in every competition and also stay on top of my studies,” Cruz said. “My goal is to qualify for indoor and outdoor Nationals.”

She’s got work to do, but she’s improving steadily. She recently set her personal best for the year Feb. 11 at the Tyson Invitational with a 12.68 meter leap in the triple jump. Her continued growth can only mean good things for her as she represents Guatemala and Tulane going forward.