WC’s Jones returns to the track, excels at hurdles

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

Warren Central’s Trekia Jones practices the hurdles in anticipation for Saturday’s Class 5A track and field state championships. Jones, who never partcipated in the hurdles before this season, is a favorite to win the state title.(C. Todd Sherman The Vicksburg Post)

[5/9/03]At one point, Trekia Jones thought she might not run track again. She certainly didn’t want to run the hurdles.

Yet Saturday, at the Class 5A state meet in Jackson, Jones will not only run, she’ll have a chance to be the best hurdler the state has to offer.

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Jones, a senior at Warren Central, competed in the 300-meter hurdles for the first time at the division meet three weeks ago. Now, she comes to the state meet as the North State champion and a favorite to take home a gold medal in the event.

“I can honestly say I had no intention of running the hurdles,” Jones said with a laugh. “Coach (Andrea) Fairchild and (teammate) Elsa Davis kept pressuring me to run them, and finally I did.”

That she was able to run at all this spring has been a triumph for Jones.

She was born with a hole in her heart, and by sixth grade it had developed into a heart murmur. By the time she reached high school, the worst of the problems had been cured, and she was participating in track.

Unfortunately, her condition often left her dehydrated, and she decided to give up the sport after her freshman year.

She continued to support her friends on the team over the last two years, however, and couldn’t resist the urge to compete. Jones returned to the team this year and has been one of the Lady Vikes’ most consistent performers.

“When you come to a track meet to support someone, you miss it. You just want to jump out there and be involved with the team,” Jones said.

Her condition hasn’t gone away completely, though, and everyone involved with WC’s track program keeps a close eye on her at meets. Fairchild has kept her out of some events to prevent potential risks, and the most serious scare this season was a dizzy spell at the regional meet.

“She has the talent to be a six-eventer, but because of that heart problem we just don’t want to take that chance,” Fairchild said.

There was one event that Fairchild pushed Jones into, though.

All season long, Fairchild had been pushing the sprinter to compete in the hurdles. And all season long, Jones had politely refused. Finally, at the division meet, Fairchild convinced her to try it.

“Finally, we got to district and I said you’re doing them.’ And she blew everybody away,” Fairchild said.

Jones won the 300 meter hurdles and qualified for the regional meet in the 100 meter hurdles that day, and told teammates she’d run them one more time.

Over the next two weeks, “one more time” became Jones’ motto. At the regional meet, she qualified for the North State meet and agreed to run them again. Last week, at North State, she won the 300 hurdles in 46.28 seconds to qualify for state. She failed to qualify in the 100 after suffering through a bad race.

“I really didn’t expect to get this far with the 300 hurdles,” said Jones, who will also compete in the 4×100 meter relay with Saleda Montgomery, Brittany Banks, and Jasmin Major on Saturday.

At last, this will be the last time Jones will have to run the hurdles. She admits the event has started to grow on her, but said she’ll be glad when it’s over. Fairchild wasn’t so sure.

“She’s developing a passion for them, and that’s true with a lot of kids until you actually try it,” Fairchild said. “She lucked out and found her niche, and has excelled at it.”

Jones may have the best chance among the Lady Vikes to bring home a state title, but she isn’t the only one. Ebon Williams set a school record in the discus at the North State meet last week, and hopes to improve on her second-place finish this time.

The only other WC athlete competing on Saturday is Amanda Doyle in the high jump.

“(Jones and Williams) both have a realistic shot. Just like anybody else, they have to have their best day, but they’re peaking at the right time,” Fairchild said.

On the boys’ side, Deonta Selvy will look to end a three-year string of disappointing state meet efforts in the shot put.

He finished fifth in 2001, but missed the event last year when the starting time was changed. WC’s coaches didn’t get the message in time, and when Selvy showed up for the event it was already over.

This time, he comes into the state meet as the North State champion. Selvy wants to break the 50-foot mark he threw the shot 47 feet, 2 inches last week and figures he should be a shoo-in for the state title if he can do it.

“I don’t know what the competition is like from the south. It should be (good enough), though,” Selvy said.

Selvy added that a track title would be a nice addition to his trophy case after winning a state championship in powerlifting.

“I’m wanting to win another state championship, like I did in powerlifting”, he said. “Both of them would mean a whole lot to me if I can win in track.”

The rest of the Vikings’ roster was decimated at the North State meet, and coach Larry Tyrone will bring only a handful of athletes to Jackson.

Larry Warner will compete in the long jump and triple jump, Garrett Scott in the pole vault, and Henry Williams in the discus.

Warner, Larry King, Robert Warner and Fred Payne will also compete in the 4×100 meter relay, an event they finished second in last week.

“We still have enough to actually take a bus, so that’s exciting,” Tyrone said with a laugh. “I’m real proud of all of these guys. They’ve worked real hard, done everything I asked them to do, and I’ve not had one problem out of them.”