Stanford's Alyssa Jones Trying To Double Up Teams At USAs

EUGENE -- Alyssa Jones and her collegiate coach at Stanford hatched a plan ahead of the USA Outdoor and USATF U20 Championships this weekend at Hayward Field. 

The reigning NCAA outdoor runner-up in the long jump is still 19 years old and at a point in her career where she could reasonably compete against the best women in the world. 

But the 2022 Miami Southridge High School (FL) graduate has never competed in a U20 Championship meet before.

She also has never competed at a U.S. Outdoor Championship, and therefore she also has never qualified for a senior team. 

"I wanted to, while I still had the opportunity, I wanted to make a U20 team," she said. 

"(But) my coach and I were saying that if I make both teams, that I should do U20s to have competition in between." 

And so, there you have it, the rare junior and senior double. 

On Saturday, Jones executed on the first half of that plan when she won the U20 women's long jump in a new meet record of 6.72 meters (22 feet, 0.75 inches). The performance solidified her spot on the U.S. team for the Pan American U20 Championships, set to be held in Puerto Rico in August. 

Jones was so dialed in, in fact, that she connected for that mark on her first attempt. Her third attempt produced a 6.57m leap and her fourth was a mark of 6.61m. 

No one was really even close.

Friends' Central's Avery Lewis, a national long jump champion in high school, was second with a mark of 6.30 meters, while Morgan Davis was third in 5.90m. 

It was clear and obvious that Jones was in another league. 

"I wanted to come out here and do a pretty good, a nice jump," she said. "The meet record, it was a little surprising. But that was a nice bonus." 

Sunday's directive might be a little bit harder, though. Jones enters the senior competition that has four women ranked ahead of her in 2023: Tara Davis-Woodhall (7.07m), Quanesha Burks (6.95m), Monae' Nichols (6.91m) and Jasmine Moore (6.88m). The top three finishers make the U.S. senior team. 

But in the jumps, it's all about having the best day. 

An objective like that could give anyone nerves.

Jones personally said she doesn't like pressure placed on any event she competes in. But there's a way she gets past it, she says. 

"I've been trying to make sure all of my meets are relaxed because I noticed I do not do well under pressure, under any circumstance," Jones said. "So I am just trying to make sure all of my meets are relaxed."

Sunday's competition won't have any less stakes, but Jones believes she'll take it in stride. 

A personal goal of hers in 2023 is to hit 7 meters (22 feet, 11.75 inches). 

Maybe better yet, Jones has one huge run left in her this weekend at Hayward. 

Related Links: 

USATF U20 Championship Coverage