As Joselyn Jones performed the second leg of the 400-meter relay at the Group 4A track and field championships earlier this month, the Chancellor High School standout felt a stinging pain in her hamstring.
Jones said the pain was sharp and “it felt like somebody was punching it a thousand times.”
Jones went on to run the 400 and the freshman struggled to a 13th place finish.
There was a chance Jones’ day was done but she had no intentions of ending her first outdoor state meet on a sour note.
She had qualified for the 200 meter finals. She knew even if she limped and finished last of the eight competitors she’d score one point for the Chargers and earn another all-state medal.
“Her initial plan was to go out and jog it because we obviously did not want to risk injury,” Chancellor coach Kristen Jones said. “But when she came out of the block we were absolutely shocked to see her going full force.”
Despite her ailing hamstring Jones placed sixth in the 200 with a time of 25.87 seconds. It wasn’t the top performance of Jones’ young career but it may have been the most impressive.
Jones’ natural talent and grit propelled her to Free Lance-Star girls outdoor track and field athlete of the year honors. Jones also earned the award after running on two state champion relay teams during the indoor season.
Jones said the resilience shown during the 200 is a character trait instilled by her family.
“My parents raised my brother and I to push through, never give up and don’t quit,” Jones said. “I’ve always had that dog in me, I guess.”
Jones also earned all-state honors in the long jump (second), high jump (third) and triple jump (sixth). On the relay in which she was injured, the Chargers won the state championship.
Jones’ efforts weren’t viewed as unusual by her twin brother, Josiah, who is seeking to make his mark at Chancellor, as well.
Josiah was a key contributor for the boys basketball team as a freshman last winter. He joined Chancellor’s track team in the spring.
Joselyn helped teach him the triple jump shortly before the Conference 19 meet. Josiah said he has a “healthy rivalry” with his sister.
He compared it to former professional basketball-playing siblings Reggie and Cheryl Miller.
“Reggie Miller was always like, ‘I did this’ and then Cheryl would be like, ‘But I did this,’” Josiah said. “It’s always like we’re trying to battle to see what we can do.”
It’s honestly kind of fun to think about having an elite sister. It makes you, as an athlete, want to work hard to get on the level that she is on.”
Josiah has a bit of catching up to do. In addition to the helping the 800 and 1,600 relay teams win state titles in the winter, Joselyn was second in the long jump and high jump and fourth in the triple jump. She paced Chancellor to a fourth-place finish in the state. The Chargers were third in the state in the outdoor season.
Joselyn said she’s going to take a bit of a break this summer to recuperate from a grueling campaign.
She regularly performed as many as six events in a meet. She qualified for the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in five events and took part in four two weeks ago in Greensboro, N.C.
She admitted she’s wary of burnout. That’s why she’s not running AAU track this summer. She aims to pace herself for a seemingly bright future.
“I think she’s capable of accomplishing something we haven’t seen in a long time with some of the athletes around here,” Kristen Jones said. “With her competitive nature and drive, she really doesn’t settle for anything less than the best.”