(KMAland) — Derek Jones has less than a handful of meets remaining in his college career, and like he’s done throughout his time at Iowa State, he wants to make the most of it.
“I’d just like to be healthy and finish my career,” Jones said Monday on KMA’s Upon Further Review. “I just want to finish on a good note and enjoy every second of it.”
While track has been a huge part of Jones’ life dating back to his days at Glenwood, he’s also been a standout student and citizen. And plenty of people have noticed.
Last week, Jones was honored by the Iowa State Letterwinners Club as a recipient of the All-Around Award, presented to a senior student-athlete in recognition of significant athletic contribution, academic excellence, leadership and participation in community service.
“I was pretty blown away,” Jones said of the award. “I was just really thankful. Looking back, it’s definitely a testament to the role Iowa State has played in my life. I’m so thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had at this school.”
“Since day one,” he continued, “(picking Iowa State) has been one of the best decisions of my life. I’ve met so many people that have helped me along in my own personal growth. It’s always going to be that place for me. I just can’t even look back over the last four years and see that punk kid (that first came here). I’m just super thankful.”
Jones’ personal growth has been right in line with his improvement on the track. The Cyclone senior has been to indoor and outdoor nationals in his career, placed third as a freshman in the 400 hurdles at the Big 12 Conference meet and been in countless big races for Iowa State.
“Nationals last year is definitely one that sticks out in my mind,” Jones said of his favorite memories. “Anytime you can go to Eugene (Oregon) and enjoy that experience it’s great.”
Jones says some of his other top memories include the third place finish at the Big 12 Championships in his freshman campaign and a 600 yard race at an indoor meet last year.
“I didn’t even win,” Jones said, “but it was a race that sticks out because it was just a grueling finish. I think three of us were tied at the line and all fell over. It was a healthy dose of competition and borderline euphoria even though I didn’t come out on top.”
Jones hopes his career goes into June when the NCAA Outdoor Championships take place in Eugene, but he isn’t afraid to start looking back and reflecting on what he’s become.
“I”m just thankful for the things that happened internally with me,” he said. “It’s just like, you don’t even realize the discipline and character development that you’re getting. It’s just really unforgettable stuff that has happened in the last four years of my life.”
Jones was a guest on Barrett’s KMAland Catch Up, which runs between 11 AM and 12 PM everyday on Upon Further Review. To hear the full interview with Jones click here.