Mark Jones holds himself to a high standard.
At the Potts Indoor Invitational in Boulder last weekend, the freshman earned first place in the high jump with a mark of six feet, 11 inches. That mark was the 12th best ever recorded by a Buff, and it made him the seventh best high jumper in CU history. Jones was the only athlete at the meet to attempt 6’11”, and he almost cleared the 7’1” mark but then hit the bar.
It was his first competition in a CU uniform.
While Jones was happy with his result, he knows he can do better.
“My [personal record] was a little higher,” Jones said. “If it had been a PR, I would’ve been ecstatic.”
A graduate of Summit High School in New Jersey, Jones has had his share of high school success. He won the high jump at both the 2011 New Balance Nationals indoor and outdoor championships. At the indoor national championship, he set his current PR and the Union County indoor track record of 7’0.25”.
This season, he’s aiming for 7’2”.
Jones has been surrounded by the sport his entire life. He is part of a high jump legacy, as both of his parents set school records in the event at Cornell University in the 1980s. Jones and his father remain the only father-son pair to have both cleared 7’0″ as high school athletes.
For his first collegiate meet though, 6’11” isn’t bad.
“I had aspirations that he would do that well,” assistant coach Lindsey Malone said. “He has the capability of making All-American at NCAAs.”
Though Jones is an experienced jumper, he said transitioning to college athletics may pose its own challenges.
“[I have to] do well at big meets and just stay focused and relaxed,” Jones said.
Malone, however, believes Jones has the determination to succeed as a Buff.
“He is incredibly good at paying attention to detail, and he’s very coachable,” Malone said. “He trusts himself in competition and on the practice fields … which is one of the best things you can do as an athlete.”
Whether or not Jones hits his 7’2” mark this season, he will be a force for the Buffs for the rest of his CU career.
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Caryn Maconi at Caryn.email@example.com.