The track and field season may still be in progress, but it has already proven to be triumphant for senior Alexandra Jones.
Jones excelled at a fast pace, recently reaching her provisional shot put record indoors as well as ranking all-region in shot put during the Kim Duyst Invitational on March 5 in Turlock, California.
Jones also placed fifth in the hammer throw with a distance of 46.81 meters and third in shot put with a personal best of 13.93 meters, the third best distance in school history.
But she hasn’t always been a track and field competitor. Her father, Michael Jones, a 1983 Gator alumnus, said that she was always influenced by her older sister, Erinn Jones, noting she followed her sister into various different sports including karate, basketball and eventually track and field.
“(Erinn) was always proud of her,” Michael said. “Alex always wanted to show that she was as good as her sister. Erinn was taller and had more natural ability, but Alex worked very hard.”
Jones found her own path for the sport in high school as she helped her team reach the championships and earned most valuable field athlete her senior year. However, Jones found the competition more daunting as she transitioned into the collegiate level.
“I was competing against so many people that were older than me and I didn’t realize how different it was from high school and that people were going to be like 25 competing with me while I was just 18,” Jones said.
Throughout her years at SF State, Jones has spent countless hours perfecting her craft, working out with her team to put herself on par with those athletes she found intimidating earlier in her college career, while also balancing work and school.
She juggles an estimated 18 hours of practice each week with her work as a campus resident service assistant on campus, while also working toward a history degree. After graduation, Jones plans to get her master’s degree and teaching credentials so she can become a history teacher for students between middle school and 10th grade.
Jones hasn’t let her daunting schedule take away from her continued progress in track and field. In the 2016 spring season, Jones earned all-conference honors for a third straight year by taking second in shot put with a distance of 13.34 meters, a career high, and took fifth in hammer with a throw of 47.61 meters in the same meet. As this season is still in full swing she has been pushing herself to the limit, earning a provisional shot indoors as well as placing in all-region.
“That was a very stressful day because I didn’t do as well as I wanted to in the weight throw and I just really needed a miracle during that event,” Jones said. “I truly thank God for that because I didn’t do it by myself.”
Stress is something Jones deals with daily in her sport. Despite the countless hours she works to better herself, the struggles of competition still follow her.
“My least favorite thing about track and field is the fact that there is so much talent and no matter how hard you work there will always be someone better than you,” Jones said. “How you handle the situation really teaches you a lot about yourself.”
Working alongside her teammates has given Jones the motivation to strive for excellence while giving her a group of people she can lean in difficult times.
“Alex is so sweet and hardworking – she has a very positive persona about her – she is great to be around,” teammate Allie Arsiniega said. “I think she is good at centering herself so she gives off a calm persona before competition day and it makes her teammates less stressed too.”
“I really love all the coaching staff and I love my teammates; we have a lot of fun together and we know each other so well it really helps when someone is having a bad day of throwing,” Jones said. “I love having a team that understands everything I am going through but at the end of the day it is also up to me to get a great mark and keep moving forward.”
Jones continues to test herself and strive to be a leader in competition. She has made an impact in her sport and among the coaching staff.
“Alex is a dauntless leader who inspires everyone to be better,” assistant coach Christa Youngern said. “She sets the bar in the weight room and on the field and has left an enduring mark on this program already – I can’t wait to see her close out her senior campaign with a bang.”
Though Jones has finally found a sport that she can connect to differently than her sister, she does not plan to continue with competitive track and field after graduation.
Youngern said that as Jones approaches the final stretch of her senior career, she will be missed “both in points and in heart.”
“I do this sport because I love it and it is a part of who I am,” Jones said. “I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this sport for a long time but it has taught me so much about who I am today.”