Graphic Credit: Logan French
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Pan-American U20 champion Jasmine Jones, a senior at Greater Atlanta Christian, signed with the University of Southern California, the 2018 NCAA Outdoor National Track and Field Champions and 2019 runner-ups, on Wednesday at her school.
Jones spoke exclusively with MileSplit about her decision to join the Trojans.
"In high school, I've watched the NCAAs and the conference championships on the TV, and I'd see those girls competing and being incredible," she said. "So, it's just surreal to be a part of that team, practice with them every day, get to know them, hang out with them, and compete with them. That's going to be one of the most exciting part about this whole thing."
The Trojans checked all the boxes for MileSplit's No. 5 Class of 2020 Recruit.
"I have grandparents that live out in California, so it wasn't too far from home," Jones said. "Also, the track program is so great and so is the academics. The beautiful weather, beautiful campus and the people there were really nice, friendly, also intellectual, but also focused on their athletics. It was just a really great place to be."
With interests in the performing arts, Jones has the option to pursue cinema or theater at USC. Her interest of veterinary science and zoological medicine is available as well.
Jones was considering Georgia, Texas and Stanford. USC was Jones' final visit of her recruiting process, but having seen the facilities during Junior Day, it solidified that the campus was the right place for her.
The women of USC are dominating the NCAA sprints and hurdles, winning the national title in 2018 and placing runner-up in 2019.
In recent years, the Trojans have shown consistency with bringing in the nation's top hurdlers: All-American, Amalie Iuel; former national high school 100mH record holder Dior Hall; 2019 60mH national champion Chanel Brissett and 2019 400mH national champion Anna Cockrell.
"It's such an exciting conference," she said. "There so many records to go for and also USC and other schools in the conference have had great success, with great competition battling for titles. It's going to be super exciting to be there and trying to earn points for my schools."
Last season, Jones led the nation over 100-meter hurdles. She won the USATF U20 Outdoor Championships in 13.19, setting the 13th fastest time in high school history. She also has top 10 all-time performances in the 55mH and 60mH.
Jones took home other major wins at New Balance Nationals Outdoor, Arcadia Invitational and the GHSA State Championships. To win her eight GHSA title, the senior jumped a new PR of 20-2.25 for US No. 16.
Headed into the 2020 season, Jones' goal is simple: Run sub-13 at the 100mH. She wants to get her time down as low as she can to prepare herself not only for the next elite level, but the new coaching style she'll experience as well.
Finalizing this decision allowed Jones to think about her start in track and field. Before finding the hurdles at 12-years old, she began with the 400m and 800m.
"My sister did it [hurdles] before me, so I tried it and they were like, 'oh no you're too uncoordinated'," she laughed, while explaining her origin. "So, I waited till I grew in legs and then I came back to it."
Even before running on the summer circuit, Jones enjoyed the simple competition of her elementary school's field day. Jones said she'd do pretty well, and she'd have so much fun; it was then that her parents saw her talent and developed it to what we see today.
"It's crazy, I started running track in middle school, so it's almost like my whole life that I can remember has led up to this point," Jones said. "But, it's a good point to be at and I'm excited to be able to move onto the next part of my life."