Difference Maker: Ariel Jones

You know here from her sterling play on the basketball court for Cedar Crest.

And now as a senior she is trying a new sport–Track & Field.

Saturday at Hempfield High School, the second and final day of the annual Lancaster-Lebanon League Track and Field Championships, Jones had an absolutely splendid day, with two gold medals, a silver and a bronze.

She took top honors in her signature event – the high jump – held down the third leg of a Falcon 400-meter relay squad that ran as runners-up and came in third in the long jump. A day earlier, Jones had finished first in her newest event, the triple jump.

Jones’ showing was the best of a number of outstanding efforts turned in by Lebanon County student-athletes at the league meet. Also starring, among others, were Annville-Cleona senior Reagan Hess, Cedar Crest 12th-grader Jesse Cruise, Lebanon leaper Juan Maldonado and Cedar teammate Derin Klick.

The Falcon females finished a surprising second to Warwick in the team standings.

“Yeah, I’ve come along way,” said Jones, a three-sport star who came out for track and field for the first time as a junior. “The track coaches didn’t give up on me. They kept after me to come out. I probably wouldn’t have done it my junior year. I just believed in them.

“Now I’m glad they did,” continued Jones. “Most people might have given up on me. I like track. I always thought I only loved basketball, and that it was all I wanted to do.”

Yesterday morning, Jones won the high jump with a leap of 5-2 . Then after noon, she ran the next-to-last leg for a Falcon 400-meter foursome that also included Shayla Bonzelet, DeAsia Holloman and Destinee Holloman and came in second.

Friday evening, Jones garnered the triple jump gold with a 36-8,

“Yeah, I guess I did pretty good,” shrugged Jones. “I wanted to get first in the four-by-one with the girls. In the long jump, I wanted to beat my personal record. All season I’ve been jumping 34s and 35s in the triple jump. I worked on it in practice and started getting 36s.”

Jones finished third in the long jump, an event won by Hess, with an 18-6,75. It was the same Reagan Hess who edged Jones for the Outstanding Female Athlete award at the Lebanon County meet two weeks ago.