Above is a playlist of 6 of S. Jones’s races.
The elder of two sons, Jones began running track in high school, quickly falling for sprinting. He lettered in track twice at Union County, running the 200- and 400-meter dashes his junior year at the 2002 Florida High School Athletic Association State Finals. In 2003, The Gainesville Sun named him all-area along with notable teammate C.J. Spiller, who’s now in the NFL.
Colleges recruited Jones as a sprinter, but after graduating in 2003, Jones decided to take a year off school. He began working at a convenience store in Lake Butler, carpooling to work with his parents.
Jones moved to Huntington Beach in 2005 to run track and play football at Golden West College. He played basketball as well, but stopped once playing three sports affected his school work.
While pursuing his associate’s degree, Jones worked nights as a part-time security guard.
Golden West’s 2005 track team won the Orange Empire Conference championship, with Jones earning high sprinting marks as a freshman. He took second and first, respectively, in the conference’s 100- and 200-meter finals, and later placed fifth and sixth in the same events at the National Junior College Athletic Association Southern California Finals.
“I didn’t want to be a failure,” said Jones, who in 2005 also won regular-season conference meets in the high jump and long jump. “No excuses. I was hesitant coming out here at first because I thought there was a chance I wouldn’t be successful. I didn’t want to go back home like that.
“I came out here with no friends, no family. But my teammates became my family.”
In 2006, Jones got into a serious car accident that slipped a disc in his spine. He tried returning to the track for his sophomore season, but couldn’t physically compete.
Jones said his living situation at that time became exceedingly unstable. He eventually moved out of his Huntington Beach apartment and lived between places, rooming with friends in Compton and Santa Ana, too prideful to tell his parents or move back to Florida.
“I was homeless,” he said. “I had no place to stay. I thought they’d be disappointed.”
Jones took a semester off school to heal and find a temporary residence. In 2007, he returned to Golden West, where in the spring he set the 100-meter conference mark and later finished eighth in the 200-meter dash at the California Community College Athletic Association Southern California Championships.
After graduating from Golden West in 2007, Jones again took time off school. He began working as a nurse’s aid, then moved to Oklahoma, where a cousin lived. Jones once worked at a Goodyear Tires making minimum wage, “busting my butt,” he said.
John Bolton jokes about whooping on Jones at track meets years ago: “I smoked him every time. True story.”
A Cal State Fullerton speedster when Jones ran at Golden West, Bolton knew of Jones, but only as the Rustlers’ best runner. “We didn’t know each other like that,” Bolton said. “But at meets you see the same guys over and over again, so you know each other by name. We all know who’s who. We keep up with everyone.”
In 2012, Bolton took a job coaching sprints at Fullerton College, where Jones occasionally trained for races as an unaffiliated runner.
That same year, a mutual friend got both young men to join the Southern California Gladiators, a minor league football team based in Orange County. Their relationship blossomed, Bolton, who’s now at Mt. San Antonio College, intuitively coaching Jones out of flawed habits.
Former Concordia track and field coach Jim Brewer thinks he first met Jones in 2013, in the stands at a track meet at Orange Coast College.
Then running independently at local invitationals and United States Track and Field events, Jones sought somewhere to restart his academic career. After multiple conversations with Brewer, Jones applied for academic renewal at Concordia, with only enough time in his work schedule to take classes part time.
“Stirley was a nice young man who had potential, but … to some degree, needed someone to believe in him, someone to cut him a break,” said Brewer who, in 2013, took a job coaching track and field at St. Martin’s University in Washington State. “As I got to continue to know him, I wanted him to be part of the program I was trying to build.
“He was a ‘Yes, sir,’ ‘No, sir,’ kind of kid. Very polite, and his faith was a big part of who he was.”
In fall 2014, after receiving nine units from Concordia, Jones transferred to Bristol, where for the first time in the university’s 24-year history, it offered on-campus classes and sports teams.
You won’t find a sprinter more dedicated to his craft than Jones, Cook said.
The man knows his history, and he loses evenings watching YouTube videos of other sprinters, studying the country’s best.
“At 30,” Cook said, “Stirley has a smaller window for success than someone at 20. But the difference between someone who wins gold medals and someone who sets Olympic and world records is how much attention they’re paying to detail.”
In addition to his technique, Jones cultivates his social life and his eating and sleeping habits.
He’s as invested in recovery as he is in working out. And though his vertical running style “isn’t textbook” for a sprinter, Cook compares its subtlety to that of a pitcher who throws sidearm. It’s unconventional, but it works.
Racing as a member of So Cal Track Club, Jones recently captured gold in the 200-meter dash at the USA National Track & Field Club Championships. Held at Icahn Stadium in New York City, the event featured a former Olympian in Guyana’s Winston George and many other top sprinters. Jones’ wind-aided time of 20.61 bested George’s by three-hundredths of a second. “At first I was fine with whatever happened,” said Jones, who qualified for the event during Bristol’s track season and, unlike most participants, flew east for the race the night before. “Then when I got there, I felt I had nothing to lose. I wouldn’t be disappointed with anything. I’m blessed to have been in a position to win.”
Jones will run for Bristol again next season, and then in July at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. By then, he’ll have received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a 3.8 GPA, while having spent his spare time assisting nurses as an aid and coaching local high school runners.
Personal Records (that i could find)
La Jolla, CA, USA (4/23/16) — 10.49 sec — 100m
La Jolla, CA, USA (4/23/16) — 20.49 sec — 200m
@ Norwalk, USA (5/30/15) — 47.68 sec — 400m
Golden West @ Santa Ana (3/4/05) — 6′ — High Jump
Santiago Canyon @ Golden West (4/12/05) — 20′ 1.25″ — Long Jump
All Records (that i could find)
- 11.01 sec — Titan Twilight (4/8/05) — Preliminary
- 10.8 sec — Santiago Canyon @ Golden West (4/12/05) — Final
- 10.84 sec — Orange Empire Conf. Pre/Finals (4/22 – 4/23/05) — Preliminary
- 10.82 sec — Orange Empire Conf. Pre/Finals (4/22 – 4/23/05) — Final
- 10.7 sec — So Cal Prelims/Finals (4/30 – 5/4/05) — Preliminary
- 10.63 sec — So Cal Prelims/Finals (4/30 – 5/4/05) — Final
- 11.01 sec — Mt. SAC Relays (4/18/13) — Final
- 10.67 sec — Cal State Los Angeles Invitational (5/9/15) — Final
- 22.58 sec — 2002 FHSAA Class 2A, District 5 Championships (4/18/02) — Preliminary
- 22.53 sec — 2002 FHSAA Class 2A, District 5 Championships (4/18/02) — Finals
- 22.13 sec — Golden West @ Santa Ana (3/4/05) — Final
- 22.65 sec — Golden West, Saddleback@Riverside (3/10/05) — Final
- 22.09 sec — Orange Coast, Fullerton @ Golden West (3/25/05) — Final
- 22 sec — Santiago Canyon @ Golden West (4/12/05) — Final
- 21.74 sec — Orange Empire Conf. Pre/Finals (4/22 – 4/23/05) — Preliminary
- 21.85 sec — Orange Empire Conf. Pre/Finals (4/22 – 4/23/05) — Final
- 21.31 sec — So Cal Prelims/Finals (4/30 – 5/4/05) — Preliminary
- 21.64 sec — So Cal Prelims/Finals (4/30 – 5/4/05) — Final
- 21.79 sec — Mt SAC Relays 2007 (4/15/07)
- 21.21 sec — Cal State Los Angeles Invitational (5/9/15) — Final
- 20.77 sec — Cerritos College Championships (6/6/15) — Final
- 21.46 sec — 2015 USATF Masters Outdoor Championships (7/23/15) — Preliminary
- 21.06 sec — 2015 USATF Masters Outdoor Championships (7/26/15) — Final
- 20.75 sec — California Collegiate Invitational (4/2/16) — Final
- 20.49 sec — 2016 Olympic Trials @ La Jolla, CA, USA (4/23/16)
- 21.14 sec — 2016 200m Olympic Trials (7/8/16)
- 51.54 sec — 2002 FHSAA Class 2A, District 5 Championships (4/18/02) — Finals
- 51.37 sec — Cerritos Invitational (2/25 – 2/26/05) — FInal
- 51.81 sec — Golden West @ Santa Ana (3/4/05) — Final
- 51.31 sec — Golden West, Saddleback@Riverside (3/10/05) — Final
- 51.22 sec — Orange Coast, Fullerton @ Golden West (3/25/05) — Final
- 49.56 sec — Mt. SAC Relays 2007 (4/15/07) — Final
- 50.41 sec — Titan Twilight (3/25/11) — Final
- 48.13 sec — Cerritos College Championships (6/6/15) — Final
- 48.07 sec — California Collegiate Invitational (4/2/16) — Final
- 19′ 7″ — 2002 FHSAA Class 2A, District 5 Championships (4/18/02) — Finals
- 20′ 0.5″ — Golden West @ Santa Ana (3/4/05) — Final
- 19′ 2″ — Orange Coast, Fullerton @ Golden West (3/25/05) — Final
- 20′ 1.25″ — Santiago Canyon @ Golden West (4/12/05) — Final
- 6′ — Golden West @ Santa Ana (3/4/05) — Final
- 5′ 10″ — Orange Coast, Fullerton @ Golden West (3/25/05) — Final
- 5′ 8″ — Santiago Canyon @ Golden West (4/12/05) — Final