Q&A With K-State Track and Field's Akela Jones

Heading into the outdoor season, Jones closed her first indoor season at K-State with two first team All-American performances and one second-team honor at the NCAA Championships. 
Two weeks ago at the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Jones placed fourth in the high jump with a mark of 1.84m/6-00.50, sixth in the long jump with a leap of 6.28m/20-07.25, and 13th in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.24 seconds. Her multiple All-American honors put her in elite company among the Wildcat greats as she became only the fifth women's athlete in K-State history to earn multiple first-team honors in an indoor season. 
Along with her impressive performance at the NCAA Championships, the transfer from Oklahoma Baptist broke the 60M hurdles (8.14 at the Big 12 Championships) and the long jump records (21-09.50 at the Tyson Invitational).
Here's a look at K-State Sports Extra's conversation with Jones:
Sports Extra: You are from Barbados, an island down in the Caribbean. How different is life in Kansas compared to where you grew up?
Akela Jones: It's cold - it's very cold out here, but it's amazing here. Coach [Cliff] Rovelto is an awesome coach. We've gone to a lot of different cities and states. It's been amazing.
SE: How did you end up at K-State?
AJ: Cliff Rovelto and Coach [Vincent] Johnson, they did an awesome job recruiting me, and I felt that they would do a good job of making me into the Olympian I want to become. 
SE: What are some of your favorite things about living in Kansas?
AJ: I like cold weather. I hate being hot. I'm from the islands, but I hate sweating, so out here with the cold, it's like, "Yes!!" It's my thing.
SE: You're coming off of a pretty impressive performance at the NCAA Indoor Championships where you racked up two first-team honors and one second-team performance. What are your thoughts on that meet? 
AJ: It was tough. I competed in a lot of different events at a lot of different meets, but I prepared well. It didn't go as planned because I went out there planning to win, but it was a good experience and I loved it.
SE: How much would you say you have grown since you have been competing at K-State? 
AJ: I've grown a lot, I've matured mentally, and physically, I'm way stronger. I've got new family members here on my team. I've met a lot of new people, a lot of international people. It's just amazing.
SE: What were some of your favorite moments from the indoor season?
AJ: When I won high-point score at the (KSU-KU-WSU) Triangular meet, and then when K-State ended up winning that whole meet. It was pretty fun being the top school in Kansas. That was pretty neat.
SE: I hear you're going to try something new this outdoor season? Can you tell me a little bit about that? 
AJ: I plan on doing the heptathlon. It'll be my first ever heptathlon, so I'm nervous a little bit, but I'm excited to see how that's going to go. I've been training for it, getting on my grind, and I expect to shine.
SE: This year's K-State women's team is filled with some exciting competitors. What are your thoughts on this team? 
AJ: It is the best in history. It has been the best in history. We've broken four or five school records on the girls' side, so it's a good team. We have a lot of international people, so everyone is coming together and we feel like a family.
SE: What are you majoring in, and why did you chose that major?
AJ: I'm majoring in sociology and criminology. I want to be a juvenile justice officer, so that's what I'm going to do. 
SE: What is your favorite food?
AJ: I like macaroni pie, stew, pig tails... pig tail stew. It's not weird; it's island food. 
SE: Have you tried any new foods in Kansas?
AJ: No I haven't! Everybody is just eating things like green beans and mashed potatoes. A lot of hamburgers.
SE: What's your favorite type of music?
AJ: I like soca music - it's from the islands. That's my type of music. I use it to warm up, to get into the groove. That's my type of music.
SE: Have you gotten into country music at all being in Kansas?
AJ: No, (laughs) but I have learned how to two-step.
SE: So, besides two-stepping, do you have any hidden talents?
AJ: No, I don't think so... not that I know about!
SE: Finally, what is your favorite part about being a student-athlete at K-State?
AJ: I would say they treat us like we are really important here. We have our own cafeteria. We get into the games. They just treat us like we are royalty here and that is really great. Where else is there to be? This is K-State! 
Want to read more about Akela Jones? K-State Sports Extra recently featured her in one of its daily stories. To check out that feature, you can click here. 

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