Shot-putter makes comeback despite academic barriers
Lifting her right leg up, Alex Jones swirled in a fast motion and aimed her arm straight to the sky, launching the sphere shot put into the air before it landed in the sand pit. With cheers from the crowd and a shoulder pat from assistant throws coach Nathan DeSomber, the Gator relished in the opportunity to compete after having been away from the competitive atmosphere for a semester.
Jones had to leave SF State fall 2014 semester because she did not meet grade requirements after she received a C- in her remedial math class. She said it was very difficult for her to leave her team and felt that she had given up on herself.
“She was devastated,” said Jones’ father, Michael Jones. ”She had to quit her job, she no longer had housing, she couldn’t work out with the team. But what I’m really proud of her about is she enrolled into community college and turned that C- into a B. She never complained because she wanted to come back to the team and to the school.”
After contemplating what she should do, a fire of determination ran through Jones’ veins as she set her mind to return to SF State and come back to compete with her throwing squad, she said. The Gator said she continued to work at home with her father, went to the gym and stayed in communication with coach DeSomber.
“My coach kept in contact with me and told me he really wanted me to come back,” Jones said. “I’m proud of myself and I don’t give up on things easily.”
Michael Jones said he introduced and pushed his daughter into the sport, even though the two clash at times. He said he could not be more proud of his daughter’s success both on and off the field.
“I admire her in a lot of ways and I’m just really proud of her,” Michael Jones said. “When she sets her mind to something she succeeds.”
Jones has dominated this season for the Gators by setting a new personal record with a throw of 13.35 meters. Her recent success comes from the 2015 California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships, where she placed second overall in the shot put event.
Coach DeSomber said Jones’ success makes him very proud because of the short amount of time she had to prepare for this season. He said her drive to be the best and her personality made it fun to work with her.
“It’s hard to keep my heart out of my throat and the tears out of my eyes,” coach DeSomber said. “The mental toughness that it takes to accomplish something you know you shouldn’t be able to do, and then to go out and do it, to me that’s a demonstration of incredible mental toughness and that’s one of the great things of Alex.”