Five Miles A Day: An Inside Look At Ryan Jones’s Cross Country Career

Kelly Cronin, Crown Writer and Photographer

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The definition of an athlete is not only what they can do to excel in their sport, but also their leadership on and off the track. Ryan Jones (11) takes the definition of athlete to another level. Jones’ sport of choice is cross country, his natural aptitude to the sport has led to many victories for him individually as well as the Marian team as a whole. Just this year alone, he finished in 24th place at the IHSA Class 2A Boys Cross Country State Final which earned him All-State honors in Cross Country. Not to mention his record-breaking time of 15:18.1 at State.

 Starting from a young age, Jones’ always had a leg up on his classmates during tag in recess. From this time on, Jones was confident in his abilities and used them to excel in his running career. The influence of his mom and sister in his life have greatly affected his passion for running. It always came naturally to him, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t put in the blood, sweat, and tears to get where he is today. Jones’ took it upon himself to practice five miles every day. It is plain to see through Jones’ achievements that hard work and dedication truly do pay off.

From the second Jones walked through the doors of Marian as a freshman, his passion for running shined through the entire cross country team. He wanted to contribute to the cross country team in a way that would leave a lasting impact. Not only in the competitions itself, but in the way he leads the team through his words and encouragement. Jones (11) says, “When the team needs a good pick me up, I like to say don’t worry too much. There will more races in the future so just keeping looking forward.” His positive attitude towards himself and his teammates is what can make the difference between a mediocre team and team that knows what to do in times of struggle.

Jones demonstrates leadership and support throughout the whole team. Cross country manager Susan Lim (11) kindly shares, “Ryan puts in all his effort which sets a good example for the rest of the team. He is a true motivation to everyone.” The fact that he never gives up whether it’s a race or practice drives the rest of the team to work as hard as him. “What sets him apart is that he is always very kind. His heart is as good at what he does on the team,” states Lim (11). It is clear that Jones’ involvement in Marian’s cross country team has led to many victories on and off the field.

Jones’ plans to continue on with his running career in college. His family members are his biggest supporters and are a prominent part in why Ryan succeeds in what he does. His dedication to his passion leads him in ways that open doors and even more opportunities. Ryan can be seen as a role model to not only his teammates but athletes in general.

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