Northridge track star signs with Alcorn State
Wed. June 06, 2012 at 12:11 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
TUSCALOOSA | Darryl Jones, a Northridge High School graduate, hopes to display his athletic versatility when he gets to college.
Jones recently signed to compete for the track and field team at Alcorn State University in Mississippi.
"It was one of the biggest days I ever had," Jones said of his signing. "I’ve been working so hard, since I was about 7 years old, just for this day to come. Finally it came for me. I was more than happy. I would just like to thank God and my family and everybody for being there for me and all those years of believing in me."
The 6-foot Jones said he expects to compete in four events for the Braves. His field specialities include the triple jump, long jump and high jump, and his track event will be the 400-meter hurdles. If Alcorn State needs a decathlete, he can do that as well.
Jones, a member of the Northridge varsity team for four seasons, placed fourth in the triple jump (45 feet, 11 inches) during the 2012 AHSAA Class 6A outdoor championships. He also placed fourth as a junior with a distance of 45-5.
Jones capped his high school career by placing second in the AHSAA decathlon. Greg Coleman of McGill-Toolen in Mobile was the winner with 5,824 points. Jones finished with 5,761 points. His results included 11.43 seconds in the 100 meters; 20 feet, 91⁄4 inches in the long jump; 38-11⁄2 in the shot put; 5-111⁄2 in the high jump; 52.39 in the 400; 16.4 in the 110 hurdles; 101-5 in the discus; 91⁄4 in the pole vault; 99 feet in the javelin; and 4:48.17 in the 1,500 meters.
Northridge coach Jeff Sparks described Jones as a "phenomenal athlete."
"He has worked very hard for me," Sparks said. "I was glad to help him excel, and I’m very excited about his opportunity to pursue a career in athletics as well as academics at the collegiate level. I think he’s a young athlete whose best is yet to come. I see bright things for him in the future."
Jones said Rickey Giddeon, one of his physical education teachers, provided the encouragement to pursue a track career.
"In the seventh grade, (Giddeon) had us doing track things in P.E." Jones said. "We did the triple jump, and he thought I was pretty good. Nobody could beat me, so he wanted me to try out for the track and do just that event. When I got there, I found out I could do hurdles also.
"When I was in the eighth grade, I felt like I was unstoppable. I just kept working and had one of the best high school careers I could ever have. Coach Sparks helped me with everything. He was like the best coach I ever had in my life. I just can’t thank him enough. I love him."
Jones said he hopes to major in sports medicine.
"Alcorn State was the closest place to home I could go to, and I have family in Jackson, Miss." Jones said. "I want to take about three weeks off and for the rest of the summer just bust it hard in the weight room and get ready for college. The coaches have high expectations for me, so I’ve got to train and live up to expectations."
Reach Andrew Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0223.