Before the season starts, Delaware Sports Blitz wanted to highlight some of the fall athletes at Goldey-Beacom College.
The next feature interview for Goldey-Beacom comes from Cara Jones who is on the Track and Field/ Cross Country team at the school.
Jones is one of the veteran leaders on the Cross Country team which starts their fall season on September 7th.
Last season, Jones competed in six races which she ended in 13th in 25:57.1 at the GBC Fall Classic, 55th in 24:19.4 at the CACC Championship and 61st in 24:46.78 at the Dutchmen Invitational.
The junior Cross Country athlete was honored by the CACC last season, as Jones was named to their Academic Honor Roll for excelling in her studies in the 2018 season.
The Cross Country team as a whole earned the Team Academic Award from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for their excellence in their academics in 2018.
In her freshman year of college, Jones was named Rookie of the Year for Cross Country.
In Track and Field where Jones also excels, the junior two-sport athlete has set three school records in the sport.
Before coming to Goldey-Beacom, Jones was a three-sport athlete at Mount Pleasant High School where she played basketball, track & field and cross country.
Jones talks everything from what adjustments she had to make from competing in cross country/ track & field in high school to college and what the advice “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable” from her current coach Andrew Shearer taught her.
Check it out below!
How did you start playing sports?
I started playing sports when I was 12 years old. It was more of a way to get me out of the house rather than something that I actually wanted to do. I started out with spring track & field, which in high school transformed into my playing basketball all four years and running cross country in my last two years of high school.
What adjustments did you have to make from the jump of high school to college, regarding the sport you play?
When it came time for the transition from high school to college with running cross country/ track & field, I had to constantly remind myself that at this level, it is more intense and there is a much larger commitment as opposed to high school athletics. I found that it is much more of a time commitment in college than in high school, which translates into having a higher impact on my body as well as my life.
How do you keep yourself in game shape in the off season for your sport?
Since I am a two-sport athlete at the collegiate level, it isn’t as difficult for me to maintain staying in game shape as training for the two seem to meet rather quickly. However, that doesn’t mean that it is easy. While both cross country and track both involve me running long distances, the amount of strength and personal growth that comes from the transition from one to the other have taught me so much about not only how to take care of myself, but how to take care of and look out for my teammates as well.
What has a former or current coach taught you, that you still use today on or off the playing field?
I’ll never forget what my current coach Andrew Shearer tells myself and the rest of our team. He says to us “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. This is something that I have prided myself in following every single day. When it comes to cross country especially, it is a very difficult sport to have the ability and the willpower to be able to do. Every morning for practice, I may not want to get out of bed to go to practice or do a certain workout, but I understand why he has us up early to do these practices. Once it comes down to race day, all the “ouchies and boo-boos” that we’ve sustained over the course of the season have prepared us to compete at our best and give it our all. That way, when we’ve crossed that finish line, we know that we’ve done everything that we possibly could to make ourselves stronger athletes and by extension, stronger human beings.
What is a typical day for you when the season is in full force?
When the season is in full force, I am able to wake up at 5:30 A.M., get myself ready for practice and make my way to the athletic department of the school. I always try to get to athletics at least 20 minutes before practice actually starts so that in the event that I have any type of pain or soreness from the previous day, I can either take care of it myself or wait to be seen by the athletic training staff. This way, I know that when practice begins, I am able to give all possible effort that I can in order to become a stronger competitor.
What do you feel is your greatest strength?
Personally, I find that my greatest strength as of now is my ability to never give up. When it comes to being a collegiate student-athlete, I know that what I do out at practice and in the classroom reflect not only on myself, but my fellow teammates, my school and by extension, my community. I know that there is no benefit to giving up on myself because if I have no faith in myself, then I am not going to help myself or anyone around me achieve their full potential.
What do you feel you are weakest at and how do you work on to improve it?
What I am weakest at is more than likely my stubbornness. There have been times where I refuse to stop myself in a practice or a workout because I think that I have the capability to finish, but I am unable to do so physically. In fact, when I was in high school, I had a loose joint in my left hip. Every time I would run, it would always pop out of place, which was painful to run on, but I refused to give up. My coach had to force me to sit down because he could see that I shouldn’t have continued the workout. In order to let go of my high ability to be stubborn, I’ve had to teach myself to know my limits and to get out of my own way. Lately, I have been learning to listen to not only my peers, but to listen to what my body is saying so that I will no longer put myself at risk for injury.
Describe some of the highlights of your athletic career.
Over the course of my athletic career, I have had the privilege of setting currently three records for the Goldey-Beacom College Women’s Track & Field team as well as being named to the CACC Academic Honor Roll in the fall of my sophomore year. But what has probably been the biggest highlight so far of my athletic career was being named Rookie of the Year for cross country in my freshman year of college. In my freshman year of college, I was still surprised at the fact that I had made it to the collegiate level of being a student-athlete. It had only been my third year in total of ever running cross country, which made that moment all the more meaningful to me. When I started competing in athletics at 12, I never even dreamed of having the ability to compete at the collegiate level, let alone in two sports. Since having this opportunity granted to me back in 2016, I would not have traded it for anything in the world.
What is the best part of playing on a team?
The best part of playing/ competing on a team is the opportunity to surround yourself who have a common interest and a common goal. When you have people who are supporting you because they know what it’s like to go through the same things and be there for you, it is truly a gift. Especially when it feels more like a family as to just feeling like a team. The feeling that comes with knowing your team is like another family which is so surreal that it makes all other aspects of the student-athlete experience seem a little less overwhelming.
How do you stay motivated during the highs and lows of a season?
I always try to tell myself that regardless of the highs or lows that come with a season that I can always get better. Knowing that there is always an opportunity to improve is what pushes me every day to try and get better. When there is a high for the season, like personal records or PRs for multiple members of the team, it just fills me with a sense of pride that comes from believing in my teammates and their accomplishments.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge to face would more than likely have to be getting out of my own way in order to reach new goals. When it comes to making new goals and trying to reach them, the biggest competition a person has to face is themselves. If a person does not have the belief to get themselves to a faster time or achieve a further distance, then they will not have the drive to push themselves to get better.
Why did you choose to play at Goldey-Beacom?
In the end, I chose Goldey-Beacom because of the environment and the feeling of having family around. When I initially signed to GBC, I looked at it as a way for me to stay close to home as well as further my education. As I started getting into competing collegiately and getting to know my peers, I was able to find people who I can consistently rely on in the event of an emergency. Now that I’ve been here for two full years and beginning my third, I now know that I made the right decision.