BY THERESA SCANLON
Franciscan University’s Cross Country and Track star athlete Bill Jones is now in his final season of FUS athletics. After four years of running for the Barons, Jones reflects on what he has learned from his teammates, coaching, and the sport of running.
In every aspect, Jones pursues life with a ‘go-getter’ attitude. Setting goals is equally as important as taking the necessary steps to achieving them. But to Jones, who has definitely accomplished his fair share of achievements for a 23 year old college senior, racing is more than a competition, running has become a way of life; a therapy of sorts where he is able to channel any frustrations, disappointments, or anger.
“People tell me ‘Bill you never seem angry or upset’,” Jones said. “The truth is I don’t need to. I channel my frustrations and anger into my races to succeed. I remember everything that has brought me down, and I apply it to running.”
Jones was frustrated and discouraged this fall when he competed in the National Championships and ran an 8k course in 25:33, about a minute and a half slower than his average 8k finishing time.
Although he had finished first in the All Ohio State Championships and the Great Lakes Regional Championships against about 30 other Division I, II, and III schools earlier that season, Jones recalls that after missing his mark at Nationals it was difficult for him to stay motivated and to continue training.
“I worked too hard to get to the biggest moment of my running career and then flunk,” Jones said. “It was very humbling. I realized that I can run some of the fastest times in the country, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to win every race. Everyone is subject to falling short of their goals; that shouldn’t deter you from picking yourself up and going at it harder the next time.”
Despite disappointment, Jones continued to train in the off-season, and has set new goals for his last season as a Franciscan Baron. Competing on the Track and Field team, Jones wants to make the most of his Spring season, and plans to win every 5k and 10k race he competes in.
“Because of my cross country experience this past fall, I think I’m on a whole new level and I am setting myself up for some successful wins.” Jones said. “This last season is the best one. I don’t plan on coming in second in any races this year.”
Finishing first for Jones has always been his goal, not because of the prizes or medals he receives, but because racing allows Jones to recognize his full potential, and to utilize his God-given talents.
“Racing gives me confidence, it helps me to recognize what achievements I am capable of,” Jones said. “Running is God’s gift to me, and my gift back to God. God deserves the best, so we must work to our full potential.”
No matter the outcome of the race, Jones knows that training hard is of the utmost importance. Running since the fifth grade, Jones has had plenty of time to reflect on the importance of such work.
“It is not about the ultimate destination,” Jones said. “But rather the steps that it takes to get there. It is in the journey where we will earn our rewards.”
After a long journey with running, Jones does not plan on ending his career. He is not setting any limits to his capabilities, and has hopes to qualify for the Olympic trials in 2016.
“My running career isn’t over once I leave Franciscan,” Jones said. “It is just starting out. I’m having break through races. If I keep improving I will be at a totally new place three years from now.”
Along with training, Jones hopes to find a job as a high school Theology teacher, as well as a Cross Country and Track and Field coach, where he will motivate teenagers to set and pursue their own goals.
“You only live once,” Jones said. “You have to make the most of the opportunities given to you. You only have one shot, so you may as well go into it with your whole heart.”