By T. Scott Boatright
Bearcat bloodlines are the ties that bind when it comes to Ruston High School graduate Kendrick Jones’ decision to continue this athletic career on the collegiate level at Northwest Kansas Technical College in Goodland, Kansas.
Jones has signed paperwork to attend Northwest Tech to run for new head coach Keitavious Walter, a Ruston High graduate who said Jones’ uncle is Walter’s mother’s dad.
A cornerback for the Ruston football team, Jones didn’t join the Bearcats’ track and field team until his senior year.
But he made sure to make that single season count in a big way.
The Bearcats’ 800-meter team of Dylar Richmond, Darius James, Jordan McWain and Kendrick Jones finished eighth at the Louisiana Class 5A state meet in May with a time of 1:28.61, while the 400m team of James, McWain, Jones and Dylone Brooks took ninth at 42.85.
Ruston’s 1,600m team of Richmond, Bryar Madden, Taylor Roller and Jones also finished ninth at the state meet with a time of 3:33.16.
Bearcats Track and Field coach Trey Smith said that it was the intangibles brought to the team that played a big role during his single season of competing in the sport.
“As we went through the year, through indoor season and then outdoor season, I could definitely see his love of the sport grow more and more and I’m super excited to see him get the opportunity to go on to the next level, especially in that junior college system where it’s going to be fire,” Smith said. “I have to commend Kendrick on the leadership he brought to the team this year. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of seniors to build a team around during my first season coaching here.
“Every day, no matter what position it was, no matter what relay or event it was, Kendrick did whatever was needed for the team. That’s something he’ll bring with him and will be a big thing for him moving forward. I told him his coach is going to be asking a lot from you along those lines because he’s shown what he’s capable of.”
Smith said there’s another reason he’s excited about Jones’ decision to run at Northwest Tech.
“I think it’s next May when the national junior college championships will be held in Monroe,” Smith said. “So it’s going to be fun to see Kendrick come back home and show what he’s learned over that first college year as he moves his athletic and academic careers forward at Northwest Tech.
“The main thing is that Northwest Tech is getting a proven athlete who knows all about hard work and taking care of business. I look for some outstanding things from him as he moves on to this next phase of his life.”
Jones admitted having Walter as his head coach played a role in his decision to attend Northwest Tech.
“My cousin coaching there was a big part of my decision,” said Jones, who plans on earning a degree in mechanical engineering. “That kind of made it easy and I’m excited to learn from him because I know what a great runner he was and I think there’s a lot he’ll be able to teach me and use to make me a better athlete.
“And just getting the chance to run on his team is exciting. I’m really looking forward to it and to continue running on the collegiate level.”