Jones’ late season injury halts state medals

AMBOY – Amboy junior Elly Jones had a mission list coming into this spring’s track and field season.

She wanted to set personal records in each of her four events: the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, the long jump, and the triple jump.

Jones, who qualified for all four events as both a freshman and a sophomore, wanted to be a 12-event state qualifier.

And she wanted to add to her medal count, which was at five after her first two seasons.

Unfortunately, at a nine-team meet on April 27 at Pecatonica, Jones hit a hurdle and landed awkwardly as she came down partially on the rack and partially on the hurdle.

The doctor diagnosed sprained ligaments, which produced bruising. Jones was put in a boot until the Class 1A Erie Sectional where she was cleared to compete, and qualified for state in the 100 hurdles and the triple jump.

During the IHSA State Meet preliminaries on Thursday, May 18 at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Jones was not able to make it to Saturday’s finals as she finished 10th in the 100 hurdles with a time 16.18 and she was tied for 19th with a 32-foot, 8-inch triple jump.

She was disappointed she wasn’t able to check off her goals, but it adds fuel to next year’s fire.

“This season, I didn’t really meet the expectations I had coming into the season. It’s definitely disappointing, but it just means I have to work that much harder this offseason,” said Jones. “This is definitely motivating me for my senior season. For my junior year, I wanted to set personal records in almost all four of my events, which didn’t happen.

“I have one more year to accomplish my goal. I’m excited for next year. This year I was trying to figure out whether I’d like basketball or track more. I’ve decided I want to focus more on track. This offseason I’m 100 percent doing more track-based things over any other sports.

“I’ll be all in during the basketball season, but I’m going to be doing track things on the side.”

Amboy-LaMoille girls track coach Michael Robinson was happy his lone state qualifier was able to compete in Charleston and shared the same disappointment with the state results.

However, he has nothing but faith Jones will bounce back and return to the podium next spring.

“The nice thing about having Elly is she is a natural leader. The girls look to her for advice, what to do for warm ups, and they kind of mimic her,” Robinson said. “They see what she has done in both the hurdles and the jumps. They look to her to get a sense of what they can do to make themselves better. The younger girls used her for tips and tricks for many things, including how to hurdle.

“She works hard and is going to work harder. She will get better and she will help the team improve because they watch her.”