WHO SAYS small guys from little schools aren't capable of big accomplishments?
Surely no one familiar with Jamar Jones.
Jones has the stature of a guy who, on a basketball court, would be a whirlwind of a waterbug point guard. On all-weather surfaces, he creates just as much havoc.
Engineering and Science High, out of the Class AA classification, is your 2007 Public League track champion, and Jones deserves to take a mighty long bow.
As the Engineers yesterday accumulated 90.5 points in competition at Northeast High, turning back a chief challenge from Class AAA Simon Gratz (87.5), the diminuitive, yet dynamic Jones was fully or partially responsible for 38.
He claimed first over 800 meters in 1 minute, 56.50 seconds, and ran legs for the triumphant 4 x 400 (opening, 3:24.79) and 4 x 800 relays (third, 8:35.07). Only a teammate, Terence Lee, kept him from winning the mile (4:26.57 to 4:32.81).
"This was a good day," Jones understated.
He was already looking ahead to another.
After saying that his best event is the 800, and that he owns a personal record of 1:51.94, Jones expressed dreams of next weekend clocking 1:49 in the state championship meet, set for Shippensburg University.
"And after that," he said, "I'm going to try out for the Junior Nationals. I'm real solid in the 800. That's what I like the most and where I'm really making my push."
Jones got his track start at age 8 with the Oak Lane Youth Association, then later aligned himself with the more renowned Juventus Track Club.
"In the 800, I knew I would have competition, especially from [Gratz'] Khaliff Featherstone, because he's a top athlete. I kept my confidence and stayed motivated throughout the race. I had to make my move kind of early, for the last 300, because I knew if I waited, he would have run away from me.
"I relied on my strength. That carried me through."
Of the mile, Jones said: "I knew I'd have competition with my teammate. We wanted to run good times. In that one, he was a little stronger and pulled away at the end."
As for the 4 x 800 . . .
"That was like a walk in the park," he said, smiling. "We knew we had that one [the first of the day]. We didn't push too hard because we had other races to save our energy for."
Shortly before the 4 x 400, coach Nancy Juka figured Jones would run the anchor leg.
"He'll probably get the baton behind, then watch, he'll go right ahead and we'll win," she said.
Instead, there was a late change, and Jones' spectacular leadoff leg removed much of the suspense.
"We came into the 4 x 4 with a lot of confidence, especially coming off a Penn Relays win," he said. "Surprised we won by that much, though. My teammates really showed heart."
Lee also won the 3,200 in 4:26.57. The meet's other double winners in individual events were Imhotep Charter's Herman Kirkland in the 100 (10.84) and 200 (22.09), Gratz' Frank Wainwright in the high (15.36) and intermediate hurdles (39.02) and his teammate, Jerry Wells, in the long (22 1/2) and triple jumps (43-5 1/4).
For college, Jones is considering La Salle, Seton Hall, North Carolina Central and Delaware State. He envisions majoring in electrical engineering.
Chances are good, in that field, he'll also become a big-timer. *