Jones Sets Personal Best at Pan Am Games

TORONTO, Ontario – Kansas State track and field athlete Akela Jones posted a personal-best mark of 1.91 meters/6-03.25 in the women’s high jump to finish third at the 17th Pan American Games on Wednesday.

Jones, who was representing her home country of Barbados at the Games, eclipsed her previous high of 1.87 meters/6-01.50 set first at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships on May 17 and then at the NCAA Championships on June 13. The height of 1.91 meters/6-03.25 was also the second-best in K-State school history, falling just shy of the mark of 1.94 meters/6-04.50 set by Gwen Wentland at the 1995 New York Games.

Levern Spencer of Saint Lucia won the event with a height of 1.94 meters/6-04.25, while Priscilla Frederick of Antigua and Barbuda finished just ahead of Jones in second place by virtue of misses at 1.91 meters/6-03.25. Frederick made the mark on her second attempt, while Jones was successful on her third and final attempt. Jones missed on all three attempts to tie Wentland’s school mark of 1.94 meters/6-04.50.
Wildcat teammates Kim Williamson (Jamaica) and Alyx Treasure (Canada) also performed well in the high jump finishing sixth and seventh, respectively. Williamson collected a mark of 1.88 meters/6-02, which was her second-highest height of the season behind her 1.90 meter effort to earn a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships on June 13. Treasure’s height of 1.85 meters/6-00.75 was a season-high, eclipsing her 1.84 meter performances at the Brutus Hamilton Challenge on April 25 and the Rock Chalk Classic on May 2. 

Jones also competed in the 100 meter hurdles at the Pan Am Games on Tuesday, finishing with a wind-aided time of 13.10 to finish in seventh place in her semifinal heat. In addition, fellow countrywomen and Wildcat Sonia Gaskin finished seventh in her semifinal heat of the 800 meters with a time of 2:09.01.

A finalist for both the Honda Sports Award for track and field and Big 12 Conference Athlete of the Year, Jones has posted one of the best individual seasons in K-State track and field history. Among a lengthy list of honors, she nabbed five All-American honors -- four first team, one second team -- the indoor long jump conference title, as well as finished high-point scorer at both Big 12 Indoors and Outdoors. The junior transfer earned multiple postseason honors for her efforts, winning Big 12 Outstanding Performer of the Year indoors and sweeping the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Field Athlete of the Year award. From a program perspective, Jones' performances this season have resulted in school records in two events indoors -- 60-meter hurdles and long jump -- and three event outdoors -- 100-meter hurdles, long jump and heptathlon.

Williamson will compete at the NACAC Senior Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica on August 7-9, while Jones will next be in action at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China on August 22-30.