Andrew Jones ran his entire career at North Hall High with the school-record time for the 3,200-meter run etched in his mind.
The previous Trojans school best belonged to decorated distance runner, Ty McCormack, who since running at Auburn University and Clemson University, took part in the 2016 Olympic Trials for the marathon.
Still, the University of Virginia signee kept pushing, knowing he wanted that school record in the two-mile run.
And after devoting himself to running in high school, Jones has cemented his legacy on the Mount Rushmore of elite distance runners to come out of North Hall.
On May 22, Jones turned in a new personal best and school record with a time of 9 minutes, 1 second at the Wingfoot Night of Champions at Marietta High.
Going up against the top runners across all classifications, the 2019 cross country 3A state champion for the Trojans shaved four seconds off the previous-best time in the 3200 of 9:05 from McCormack in 2010.
“It’s really exciting to have the new school-record time in the 3200,” said Jones, who will spend the summer training in Boulder, Colorado with his future Cavaliers teammates. “I really can’t describe how it felt to break the school record.”
Jones considered the Meet of Champions the penultimate race of his high school career.
On Saturday, he’ll take part in the Music City Track Carnival in Nashville, where he hopes to go under 9 minutes.
There, Jones will go against the top distance runners in the country, many, he said, hail from California.
He said this will be the biggest and final race of his high school career.
Then, Jones will turn the page to spending the next couple months doing high-altitude training in Boulder, which is just 30 miles northwest of Denver.
Even if he doesn’t go under 9 minutes in the Music City, Jones will also have that race at the Night of Champions as one of the cornerstones to his running career for North Hall.
The Trojans’ distance-running specialist said he could tell it was going to be a good race at Marietta by the time he got to the final of eight laps of the track. There, he was getting pressed from behind by the second-place finisher, Denmark’s Ethan Ashley, who turned in a time of 9:03.
Jones said his training and mental fortitude had him ready to give a strong final burst over the final 400 meters.
Once he crossed the finish line, Jones had myriad of emotions — ranging from elation to total exhaustion.
However, he turned in a school-best time for an important distance event for North Hall.
That made all the pain at the end worth it, for Jones.
Three times, in 2021, Jones turned in a time of 9:08 in the 3200.
This summer, Jones is eager to be introduced to all his new Virginia teammates, while training in the Rocky Mountains. He said high-altitude training is important for producing more red blood cells, due to the lower concentration of oxygen.
Boulder is situated at approximately 5,300 feet above sea level, compared to 1,700 feet in Gainesville.
At Virginia, Jones will be joined running by his close friend Justin Wachtel, who was a three-time state champion from Mary Persons High in Forsyth.
Jones picked Virginia due to its top-tier recruiting class and the chance to run for second-year Cavaliers coach Vin Lananna, who has captured 11 national titles during years at Stanford and Oregon.