The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Strong leadership, big personality: Jacinto Jones II breaks record, motivates teammates

4 min read
A man wearing a dark blue track and field uniform that says "UMW" runs down a light blue track. A man in yellow runs near him.

On January 27, Jacinto Jones II broke UMW's 300-meter dash record at the VMI Invitational. | umwathletics


Sports Editor & Staff Writer

Born on a military base in Caguas, Puerto Rico, sophomore communication and digital studies major Jacinto Jones II has been playing sports since he was six years old. He moved to the United States at age three and graduated from Colonial Forge High School in Fredericksburg, Va. where he ran track and played football.

Jones came to Mary Washington specifically for track and field after being recruited, but he also loved the community and energy on campus.

“I only came here specifically for track. But then I came here and I felt the environment and I was like, ‘Huh now I want to do what I’m actually supposed to do here,’” he said.

For Jones, the difference between playing sports at UMW compared to his high school is huge, as the resources on campus allow him to train more consistently. 

“I have a weight room that I use more often, and the times are different. I usually didn’t use the weight room at high school at all but now it’s daily in my life,” he said.

On January 27, UMW’s indoor track and field teams competed at the Virginia Military Institute’s Invitational. At the event, Jones broke the UMW record in the 300-meter dash, setting a new time of 35.23 seconds.

Jones elaborates on his motivation behind beating the record.

“The motivation was when I was walking up to the track,” he said. “I saw the time and I was like, ‘Oh, I know I can break it. Easy.’”

Track athlete and senior computer science major Ethan Young describes Jones’ hard work.

“I’ve seen him break records before, even his own, and I know he’s going to continue breaking them,” Young said.

Some of Jones’ teammates had recently broken this same record, adding friendly competition into the mix.

“After seeing my teammates perform [and] they broke it, I’m like, ‘Alright, now I got to break it. There’s no choice in the matter, I have to break it,’” said Jones. “So there was a lot of pressure, but in the end, I did pull through so I’m happy about that.”

Though track and field is an individual sport, the team encourages each other before and after competitions.

“Whenever everybody’s racing, or before they race, we always tell each other ‘Hey we got this. remember the training. Remember what you need to do. Don’t think too much, just go and go get it,’” said Jones. 

The track and field team is inspiring in the way they boost each other’s confidence. Jones explains that the team stands on the sidelines, watches each other race and encourages each other.

“We all just support each other,” he said. “Everybody is at the finish line. All the teammates are at the finish line cheering you on, screaming, ‘Let’s go.’”

Jones discusses the differences in individual sports like track and field.

“The difference is that you are running against time and yourself, which is much harder than you think,” he said. “But there is a team effort in track for relays and support. Everyone on the team wishes you the best and wants you to succeed in each event you do.” 

Jones may only be a sophomore, but he has already shown great improvement and has become a natural-born leader on the team.

“He’s definitely emerged more of a leader after last year,” said UMW Men’s Track and Field Head Coach Asia Hart. “He had a great season, finished up pretty well at conference and then we took into some final qualifiers and then he popped off qualified for outdoor nationals.”

Not only has Jones become a great athlete throughout his time here at UMW, but he also has a great personality that brings the team to life.

“[Jones] has been great. He has a big personality that you definitely see at our practice and at meets, but he also knows when to buckle down, focus, get in gear and just attack the track,” said Hart.

His teammates share a similar sentiment. 

 “[Jones] is a great teammate and pushes me and our other teammates in practice so that we can better ourselves,” said Young. “As an athlete, he is calm and focused on what he needs to do in order for him to perform at his highest.”

Jones is known for his leadership and hard work by both his teammates and coaches. Hart discusses his impact on the entire UMW team.

“He’s definitely stepped up in a leadership role as a sophomore, which is great. And you can see it throughout the whole team now,” she said. “Now, the whole team is focusing at a higher level, so it helps elevate everyone’s game when you have someone like that that can lead the way,” she said.

Jones’ teammates speak about him with pride, for he has proven himself to be an incredible athlete who continues to outdo himself.

“In the time that I have known him, Jacinto has matured as both a person and an athlete. On the track he has gotten stronger and faster and is only going to get better,” said Young.

Track and field may be an individual sport, but camaraderie is a clear theme when it comes to Jones and his teammates’ connection. Jones has not only been able to improve his skills, but he has also helped his teammates to better themselves.

“He has taught me that as long as you show up and put in the work during practice and lift, then the results will follow,” said Young.

Jones and the team will compete until May 15, and the Eagles’ next meet will be in Newport News, Va. on Saturday, April 20 for the Christopher Newport University Captains Invitational.

“We’re excited to see what he can do for himself as an individual and also to see what his leadership can do for us at conference,” said Hart.