COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The men’s track and field program is on the verge of making some big moves as it rebuilds from a storied legacy. Kameron Jones helped to light the fire for the men’s program during the indoor season setting two new school records.
The sophomore from San Diego, California started his indoor season with high goals that he reached almost immediately when he set a school record at the first meet of the season in the 400m dash.
“Breaking a 37-year old record isn’t something I take lightly," said Jones. "It was definitely a moment I’ll remember forever. In the moment it was a surprise because it was the first meet of the season, but I could tell from my training that something big was coming.”. The previous record was set by Darryl Bryant in 1981 and a strong legacy of athletes had come before him at Maryland."
Moving forward in the season, Kameron moved up to the 600m, an event that is contested within the Big Ten. In his first run of the season at Nebraska he broke the school record which he went on to break again at the Spire Invitational in Ohio. His time of 1:16.76 ranks #4 in the NCAA and #3 in the Big Ten for the indoor season.
While setting new school records has certainly been a highlight for Jones, he is also looking forward to the continued growth of the men’s program as a whole at Maryland. In his words, “I want to help create a competitive culture that leads to points at the Big Ten meet, regional, and national qualifiers. To build a brand everyone must buy in, so I’ve bought in to Coach Valmon’s program and the plan is to continue to follow this path to success.”
Off the track several other Maryland male student athletes have shined in the field events including Sam Shoultz in the high jump and Greg Thompson who was an NCAA final round qualifier last year in the discus. The men’s 4x400m relay narrowly missed an NCAA 1st round selection, something they are certain will be achieved this upcoming season.
Although Jones wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school and had to come a long way to get to Maryland from the West coast he wanted the opportunity to run for this Maryland program. As Jones said, “I felt like in order to get the most out of my experience I had to compete at the highest level. Also, since I am a 400-meter runner the opportunity to run under an Olympian in this event was extremely tough to pass up.”
While his freshmen year showed some improvements from his high school marks, Kameron’s ultimate improvement came quickly in 2018. He cited changes in his summer training as a factor in his fitness coming into his sophomore year saying, “When I came back to school this year, I was in the best shape of my life and I think that helped me to get the most out of off-season workouts.”.
In addition to a renewed physical commitment to his training, Kameron also put to use the mental training tactics from his high school coach, David Silva. As Kameron recalls, “His motto was ‘It hurts to be a winner’. Track is a mentally taxing sport and even to this day when I’m struggling through a tough workout I still whisper the words ‘it hurts to be a winner’ to myself.”