Winning an award this early on in his college career was not something freshman Daniel Jones expected. For someone who is considered quiet, winning Great Northeast Athletic Conference Indoor Track Male Freshman of the Year speaks volumes.
“It’s super surprising,” Jones said. “I can’t say I expected it, but I’m extremely grateful that I got that title. That’s a huge encouragement that I’m doing the right thing.”
His hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed, Assistant Track and Field Coach David Burnett said. Although he is quiet, he always works hard to contribute to the team, Burnett said.
“He’s a leader by example and so, for the rest of his freshman class, he’s a good example of doing what you’re told and going out there and working hard,” Burnett said.
Growing up, Jones admired his brother’s work ethic and strived to mimic him, Jones said.
“I would go to his meets before I got to high school, and I would watch him. I thought that was the coolest thing ever,” Jones said.
Jones’ award will help make the team even stronger, Head Coach Pee Wee Halsell said.
“They don’t hear him talk a lot, but they see him working,” Halsell said. “He’s out there working, and people notice that. You get rewarded for that; it’s going to make our team better.”
Jones’ friend and teammate, freshman sprinter Stedman Knox, is an example of that.
“We run the same events and we’ll always go back and forth. Sometimes he’ll get me and sometimes I’ll get him,” Knox said. “It’s just really good to have that friendly competition because it keeps you working and striving to do better.”
Knox said he appreciates Jones’ friendship.
“He’s just a genuinely kind person, and what I like is I can beat him in a race and he won’t be mad at me for that and vice versa,” he said.