Akela Jones Narrowly Misses College Pentathlon Record

By Kyle Terwillegar, USTFCCCA

January 22, 2016   

MANHATTAN, Kansas – Remember how we wrote exactly two weeks ago that Kendell Williams’ Pentathlon collegiate record of 4678 points was in danger this year?

Akela Jones of Kansas State gave Williams’ record a seriously legitimate scare today, coming up just shy of the all-time standard with 4643 points at her home DeLoss Dodds Invitational.

Still, it was strong enough to move Jones – who made big waves last summer with a historically dominant NCAA heptathlon title over Williams – to No. 2 on both the all-time collegiate performances and performers lists, and it was the best score ever by a collegian in the month of January.

The mark also broke her own Barbados national record.

Williams also previously held the January record with a 4609 effort on Kentucky’s oversized track last year.

Williams has something of a chance to respond Friday and Saturday as she competes in open events at the Kentucky Rod McCravy Memorial.

She kicked off the day with an 8.25 showing in the 60-meter hurdles, and then cleared 1.85m (6-¾) in the high jump. She just narrowly missed on her third attempt at 1.88m (6-2), which would ultimately prove costly in her record attempt.

Had she cleared 1.88m, she would have scored an additional 39 points – enough to have brought her final tally to a new-record 4681 points.

After tossing 12.99m (42-7½) in the shot put, she shined in the long jump. After leaping a season-best 6.53m on her second attempt, she soared to a final-attempt mark of 6.64m (21-9½) that tied her career-best and moved her to No. 1 among all collegians in the event this year.

It all came down to the 800, where she ran an indoor career-best 2:25.63 to close things out.

At the conclusion of her pentathlon and prior to the rest of the day’s results from around the country coming in, she controlled the tops of the collegiate leaderboards in the 60-meter hurdles (8.17), the high jump (1.87m), the long jump (6.64m) and the pentathlon.

Whether or not the now hotly anticipated showdown between Jones and Williams comes to fruition is yet to be seen. While Williams exclusively competed in the pentathlon at NCAAs a year ago, Jones competed exclusively in open events. With both of their teams in the national title hunt in 2016, both women’s strategies are to be determined at this point.