BY MATT VAN WAGENEN
Franciscan runner Bill Jones will represent Franciscan University at its first appearance in the NCAA Division III national Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championship on May 24-26, 2012.
"The 10k is looking like it will be my best event," said Jones. "I'm working on getting my pace down and knowing it well."
This is the first year that Franciscan University is a full-fledged member of the NCAA's Division III. This is the second time Franciscan has been represented by Bill Jones on the national level – he competed in the national championship for Men's Cross Country last fall. Jones will be competing in the 5- and 10-kilometer events at the national championship at Claremont McKenna College's Burns Stadium in Claremont, Calif.
Jones is currently ranked No. 14 nationally for the 5k and No. 6 in the 10k. He will be running in the 5k on May 11 at the Allegheny College Gator Invite where he is aiming for a time of 14:20.
"People can run faster times but there's no doubt in my mind that I can get top-10 time for nationals," said Jones. "The training I've done almost makes it easy in the race."
Jones has gone through rigorous training this season in preparation for the upcoming events. He has focused on running shorter events this season such as the 1500 meter and 800 meter events for speed training, and he has only competed in one 5k and one 10k event so far.
"For my workouts I do interval training where pace is what I'm shooting for," said Jones. "My target time for the 10k is 29:30."
Jones has gratefully received help from a number of people this spring in preparation for his participation in this year's national championship. Franciscan coaches Dan Kuebler and Alan Schreck have worked together to design varied workouts to prepare him for success, said Jones. He also gets help from his mother, Jill, a nine-time All-American runner in the NCAA.
"The support from my teammates, coaches and friends as been a huge motivational factor," said Jones. "We aim to glorify God through our bodies, and we can really feel God's presence on the team, which is a lot like a household. It's all been a great blessing and keeps me motivated."
The only disappointment he has is that he won't be able to have the whole team with him in Claremont at the championship.
"I wish the team would be there," said Jones. "I'm gonna miss the team."