Keely Jones: Valor Christian To Tulsa


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 Keely Jones Best Marks

800 - 2:12.33

1,600 - 5:07.19

3,200 - 11:21.32

5k - 17:53

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Q) Talk about the recruitment process - what other schools were you looking at, and how did you come to choosing the Tulsa?

Going into the recruiting process, I had a list of things that were important for me to find in a school. I was interested in University of Wyoming, Point Loma Nazarene, Cal Poly, and Colorado State, which are all really great schools. However Tulsa ended up being the best fit. My former teammate Reagan Hausmann runs for Tulsa and loves the team, and it is evident that Coach Gulley cares a lot about his athletes. I'm also excited that Tulsa will not only challenge me in running but will push me academically as well.

Q) What do you plan to study at Tulsa?

As of right now, I am interested in getting my degree in Mathematics. Ultimately though, I would love to go on to Physical Therapy school after I graduate from Tulsa.

Q) You made a massive jump (over six seconds from your freshman PR) in the 800 last year, running 2:12.33, what do you feel attributed to such an improvement?

Cross country junior year, my coach Greg Coplen really had us focus on building up a strong base to better prepare for track. My mileage went up and stayed that way for most of cross country season. Going into track he had us focus more on speed work from early on. However, one of the biggest reasons for my jump was probably a change in having people to train with. My sophomore year I didn't improve as much as I wanted, partly because I didn't have a lot of people on my team to train with or push me. Junior year though I had the opportunity to train with a new freshman on our team, Taylor Whitfield, and up until that point I didn't realize just how important it is to have people to push you in workouts and races. Seeing her work hard and perform as well as she did her freshman year encouraged and motivated me more than I can say.

Q) You've had success in everything from the 800 on up to the 5k, what would you consider to be your main event, and what event do you see yourself focusing on at Tulsa?

As of last year, I really see the 800 and 1600 as my main events. At Tulsa I plan to continue focusing on mid-distance with the 800 and 1500, but I look forward to running cross country as well.

Q) Could you share any goals you have for the upcoming track season? 

I'm excited to build on my times from last track season and hit new PRs. My team has a lot of great goals and I really just want to enjoy every moment of running with them this last season.  

Q) What would your favorite high school moment be (so far)?

One of my favorite high school moments would be running at Oregon Relays last track season. Watching my teammates perform as strong as they did and then running a huge PR in the 800 was an incredible feeling. In addition our team won Oregon Relays which made it one of the most memorable track meets of my high school career.

Bonus:  On a side note, I just want to say thank you to Coach Coplen for being such an incredible coach over the last four years. He has been a great mentor in my life and has always done a fantastic job of focusing not just on fast times but on leading a positive and encouraging community of runners at Valor.

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