Athlete Spotlight: Antonio Jones

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It takes two sports - football and track - to fuel Antonio Jones' competitive fires.

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Antonio Jones, a rising junior at South Aiken High School, recently competed in the Regional Junior Olympics in Virginia, placing sixth in the high jump and eighth in triple jump and javelin.  Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Antonio Jones, a rising junior at South Aiken High School, recently competed in the Regional Junior Olympics in Virginia, placing sixth in the high jump and eighth in triple jump and javelin.

"I like competition," said Antonio, a rising junior at South Aiken High School, who is preparing for preseason football practice to start after recently completing the track and field season.

After the high school track season ended, Antonio continued to compete with the Palmetto Track and Field Club, a USATF Junior Olympic organization in Aiken for ages 9 to 18.

In June, he won the javelin competition and was second in the long and triple jumps at the state Junior Olympic meet in Rock Hill.

That finish qualified him for the regional event in Virginia earlier this month, where he finished sixth in the high jump and eighth in the triple jump and javelin.

"He is a natural talent for the high jump, long jump and triple jump. He is always trying to improve his jumping technique and is fun to be around," said Jack Gilmore, a coach the Palmetto Track and Field Club and at South Aiken High School.

Antonio started competing in track and field during the eighth grade.

"Track and field helps keep me in shape" for his favorite sport, football, Antonio said.

Antonio, who is strong safety and wide receiver for the Thoroughbreds, started playing football when he was 8 and has been on organized teams ever since.

"Football is pretty much my life," he said.

It's the thrill of competition that draws Antonio to football and track and field, but the first has an element that the second lacks, and makes it more appealing for Antonio.

"I just like hitting," he said. "I love to have that contact with people."

With two years of high school left, Jones said he will work to improve in both sports in hopes one will get him a scholarship to the University of South Carolina or the University of Georgia.

"I want to go to college and major in psychology. After that, I don't know," he said.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.


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