Lady Panther Jana Jones said she never thought sports were a priority and it wasn’t until her brothers pushed her that she joined the Liberty County High School track team and weightlifting squad.
On Wednesday, Jones thanked her brothers after signing a letter of intent to compete in track and field with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Her opportunity to join the track team was actually spurred by irritation.
"It’s amazing to me because she got into sports because she grew tired of her brothers bugging her," said her father, Ricardo Jones. "Her brother put a disc in her hand one day and said throw it … And out of anger she threw it and everyone said ‘Woah.’"
Her toss not only caught everyone by surprise, it also caught the eye of track coach Keith McGee, who asked her to toss it again.
"And the rest is history," said her father.
Jones went on to become the 2010 Class AAA Georgia State champion in the discus with a toss of 123 feet, eight inches. She cleared 132 feet four inches in the discus throw and 36 feet five inches in the shot put.
Jones is also a top power lifter for the school’s weight lifting team and squatted her personal best of 406 pounds last week.
Jones said she is still reeling from the experience.
"I’m excited and it’s a new experience," she said. "My brother (Jevon Jones) signed (with Tuskegee last year for football) and he wanted me to be better than him and I did. He went Division II and I went Division I. He was more excited than I was."
Jones said she made an official visit to the campus in October and liked the location, the people, and the weight training facility and said there was a lot to do in the nearby area.
"At first when I went down there they were just looking at me for throwing," she said. "But they have a power lifting team too and when I told them I can squat 405 pounds they wanted me even more. And they might have me incorporate the javelin, hammer and weighted throw as well because of how much I can lift."
Jones said she plans to study biology on her way to becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
"She is very disciplined and right now she has a 3.8 GPA and is carrying all A’s," said her father.
"My brothers have a big influence in the stuff that I do, but I’m glad because it got me into college for free," Jones added with a smile.
"She is the last one leaving the nest," said her mother, Janet. "I’m happy for her. She was always in the house on the computer, but when her brothers started pulling her outside, she became a whole new person. And she has loved it since."
Jana Jones’ numbers
• 123-feet, 8 inches, GHSA State Meet (Class AAA) state champion, May 6, 2010
• 112-9 1/2, USATF Region 3 Junior Olympic Track And Field Championships, July 8, 2010
• 121-8, Liberty County High School Home Meet, April 1, 2010
• 108-7, GHSA State Meet (Class AAA), May 14, 2009
• 31-5 1/4, USATF Region 3 Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships, July 8, 2010
• 33-3 1/2, USATF Georgia Junior Olympics Championships, June 17, 2010
• 32-11, Statesboro Relays, April 10, 2009
• 32- 3, Statesboro Home Meet, March 10, 2009
• 132-04 discus
• 36-05 shot put