Jones Named USTFCCCA/Big 12 Indoor Performer of the Year

MANHATTAN, Kan. – After an impressive 2016 indoor season, senior Akela Jones has been named the Big 12 Female Indoor Track and Field Performer of the Year and the USTFCCCA Midwest Women’s Field Athlete of the Year for the second-straight year, the organizations announced on Friday. 

The honors headline an already long list of awards Jones has won during the indoor season, including being named USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week three times and being named Big 12 Athlete of the Week once. She is also on the Bowerman Trophy watch list, the first K-State female athlete to be named to the award since its founding. 

The St. Michael, Barbados native collected plenty of hardware at last weekend’s Big 12 Championships in Ames, Iowa, winning individual titles in high jump, long jump and 60 meter hurdles. Those titles, in addition to a third-place finish as a member of the 4x400 meter relay team, helped her earn high scorer of the meet honors with 31.5 total points for second straight year.

At the Big 12 Championships, Jones became the first female Wildcat to win three conference titles at the same meet since 1976 when K-State Athletics Hall of Famer Teri Anderson won the 880 yard run (2:16.6), the mile run (4:51.3) and the two mile run (10:22.3) at the Big Eight Conference meet in Manhattan. 

The senior began competition on Feb. 26, taking a share of both the national long jump lead and the No. 8 spot on the all-time collegiate performers list with a second-attempt leap of 6.75m (22-1¾) to win the title. Her mark set a school, Big 12 meet and Lied Recreation Center record. 

On Feb. 27, she opened up competition with a win in high jump, clearing a personal best 1.93m/6-04 on her second attempt for a share of the No. 11 spot on the all-time college performers list. The mark also set a Big 12 meet and facility record. She wasted no time winning her second title on Saturday as she ran a school record 8.00 in the 60 meter hurdles to claim her third individual title of the weekend.  

Jones also recorded an outstanding performance at the DeLoss Dodds Invitational on Jan. 22, falling just 35 points short of the NCAA Pentathlon record of 4,678 points set by Georgia’s Kendell Williams at last year’s NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships with 4,643 points.

Over the course of the season, Jones set multiple records, including the school record in the 60 meter hurdles (8.00) and long jump (6.75m/22-01.75).

K-State closes out the indoor season next week as the Wildcats will send six athletes to compete in Birmingham, Alabama, at the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 11 and 12. Jones will be competing in the pentathlon and high jump at the meet. 

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.