Jones Named Co-National Women’s Field Athlete of the Year

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Senior Akela Jones was recognized for her outstanding 2016 indoor season as she was named Co-National Women’s Field Athlete of the Year, along with Georgia junior Kendell Williams, by the USTFCCCA on Thursday. 

According to the organization, the voting amongst the nation’s coaches was so close between the two individuals that both were named to the honor. 

Jones posted two outstanding performances this past weekend at the 2016 Indoor NCAA National Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, including a national championship in the high jump. 

In the meet’s pentathlon, she fell just one centimeter short of the indoor world record in the high jump with a personal-best mark of 1.98m/6-06.00. The mark also set a new school record, breaking the previous record of 1.96m/6-05.00 set by Gwen Wentland in 1995. Her efforts in the pentathlon high jump also set a new NCAA Indoor Championships meet record, the collegiate pentathlon high jump record and the Barbados national record, while it tied the collegiate open record in the event.  

After winning the shot put with a throw of 13.59m/44-07.00 in the pentathlon, the senior posted another record-breaking mark in long jump with a leap of 6.80m/22-03.75. That mark set a new school record, topping the previous mark of 6.64m/21-09.50 which she set at this season’s Tyson Invitational. She also set the meet record, Barbados record and collegiate pentathlon long jump record with the result. She earned second team All-American honors in that event.  

She then competed in the open high jump competition on Saturday, taking the title with a winning mark of 1.87m/6-01.50, claiming her first indoor national title of her career and her second overall title. The mark earned her first team All-American honors in the event. 

The St. Michael, Barbados native also won three Big 12 Indoor titles in the high jump, long jump and 60 meter hurdles to earn high point scorer of the meet with 31.50 points. 

On the first day of the Big 12 Championships, she won her second-consecutive long jump title with a mark of 6.75m/22-01.75, breaking the Big 12 meet record of 6.59m/21-07.50 set by Francine Simpson of Kansas and Lorraine Ugen of TCU. Her mark also set a new Lied Recreation Center record, breaking the previous mark of 6.62m/21-08.75 in 1998 by UNLV’s Shunta Rose

Jones added two more titles on the second day of competition, winning the women’s high jump title with a leap of 1.93m/6-04.00. The mark set a new Big 12 meet and Lied Recreation Center Record, which was good for the top mark in the Division I this year and was tied for the 12th-best mark in the world. She wasted no time winning her second title of the day, running a school record 8.00 in the 60 meter hurdles. 

Jones made her mark on the season early when she tallied what was then the second-best point total in pentathlon history with 4,643 points at the DeLoss Dodds Invitational in Manhattan. 

The senior is also still featured on the Bowerman Trophy watch list, the first K-State female athlete to be named to the award since its founding in 2009. She is one of two Big 12 athletes on the latest watch list, the other being Texas sophomore Courtney Okolo

The Wildcats return to action on Friday when they open their outdoor schedule at the UTSA Invitational in San Antonio, Texas. Competition is set to begin at noon CT on Friday afternoon with the women’s weight throw and men’s javelin throw. Saturday’s running schedule for field is slated to begin at 11 a.m. CT, while the running schedule for track events begins at 2 p.m. CT. 

Live updates from the meet can be found on Twitter by following @kstate_gameday. Live results for the meet can be found here.

For the latest on K-State track and field, follow @kstatesports and @KStateTFXC on Twitter using the hashtag #KStateTF or on the team’s Facebook page.