UB’s Jonathan Jones just misses cut for World Championships

NCAA champion finishes fifth at USATF Outdoor Championships

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After setting a school record in the NCAA Championships and bringing home a gold medal, Jonathan Jones had his sights on representing the United States in the World Championships in Beijing, China later this summer.

A top-four finish at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon – the same field Jones won gold at two weeks ago – would have got him there.

But in the end, an errant final throw –just 26 centimeters off what he needed – prevented him from making the cut.

Jones finished fifth in the men’s shot put at the USATF Outdoor Championships on Sunday but will be the first alternate for the national team, thanks to his fifth place finish.

“I think I did good,” Jones said. “I had a [personal record]. I think I could’ve done better, but you know, everyone thinks they could’ve done better. I had a moment there where I almost had it.”

The moment Jones alluded to was after his third throw. After his second throw of 20.30 meters, Jones surpassed his own personal record in his third throw with a heave of 20.92 meters. The throw put him in fourth place and in position to represent Team USA heading into finals.

“I always tend to take it easy on the first throw,” Jones said. “Then, I let it loose on the second and third throw. I threw about a 20.30-something on my second throw, but the motion and everything felt right. For my third throw, I went with everything I did in my second throw, but sped it up. I could’ve got a bit more if I finished correctly.”

Heading into that final throw, Jones said he felt “off rhythm.” His first two attempts were fouls and on his last throw, Jones said he “felt like he was chasing a number, rather than doing what got him there.”

Jones still finished first among college athletes by beating Penn State’s Darrell Hill, who he also beat out for gold at the NCAA Championships. Jones saw this event and his “victory” over Hill as the “tiebreaker” between the two.

“Coming into the event, we looked at it as the tiebreaker between both of us,” Jones said with a chuckle. “I was like, ‘Alright man, this is it. Whoever throws the furthest is the best.’ Me and Darrell are good friends and it was cool to get to this event with him and throwing with him, but yeah –beating him in this event clinched my victory.”

Now that he’s on the outside looking in for the World Championships as an alternate, Jones is hoping to rest. Jones said after the NCAA Championships that he was planning a 10-week period of rest – three of which would be used for rehabilitation on his knees – if he didn’t finish fourth this weekend.

The summer isn’t over for Jones, though. Along with being an alternate for the World Championships, Jones has been selected for the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada in July. With that selection, he has decided to take a small break, before gearing up and heading to Canada.

“I’m not going to lie, my knee feels like it’s blown out,” Jones said. “Feels worn out and I’ll probably take some time off, maybe a week, and then I’ll come back and compete. I got at least one more event left in me and I’m glad I get to compete for the USA in the Pan Am games.”

After competing in Eugene, Jones has several goals left to accomplish. One is a chance to be paid for throwing.

“The next thing I would like would be signing a shoe deal with Nike or one of those major companies,” Jones said. “Actually start getting paid for throwing. On the field? Toronto, maybe Beijing and just continue to get better. I still think I have a better throw inside of me.”

Jones’ next event will take place in the Pan American Games, which take place from July 7-26 at the Pan Am and Parapan Am Athletics Stadium in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Quentin Haynes is a co-senior sports editor and can be reached at quentin.haynes@ubspectrum.com