March 30, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Senior Brittany Jones has been a national champion twice, a five-time USTFCCCA All-American and isn't ready to stop the pursuit for more.
In her final season at Tennessee, the Pompano Beach, Fla., native already has been a national scorer for the Lady Vols with the 4x400 relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
A world record-holder with the 2009 national champion DMR team, Jones answered a few questions in between working at her internship and getting ready for this weekend's double dual meet in Los Angeles vs. UCLA and Washington State.
When did you first get interested in running?
"I started running in seventh grade. It was by mistake. I only did it because my best friend told me to join the team because I didn't want to go home every day after being so athletic and trying so many sports. So I decided I'd try it, and I kind of fell into it."
How did you know which distance would be the best for you?
"My main event was the 100 and 200, which are what I started with. I had a private coach in high school who told me I was a 400 runner, so I should try the 400, and I said, `Well... I guess.' So I decided to try it, and now I run the 200 and the 400 meters."
Of the three distances you run, which is your favorite?
"The 200, because it's quick. It's shorter than the 400 but longer than the 100. I'm more of a long sprinter because I take time to build my speed, so by the time I'm in the home stretch, I'm really at full speed, going all out."
What other sports have you played?
"I played softball, volleyball, I cheered for seven years, and I played basketball."
Do you have any other family members who play sports?
"My sister is in college playing basketball. My younger sister is a freshman in high school and plays basketball. My mom played basketball in college. My family is kind of athletic."
Do you have a favorite track (indoor or outdoor) that you have run or will run on this season?
"Not really. I just feel like a track is a track. It all hurts. It doesn't really matter to me."
What was your greatest moment as a Lady Vol?
"My greatest moment as a Lady Vol would be us winning the NCAA Indoor Championship in 2009."
You are a regular on Tennessee's NCAA-qualifying relay teams. What is the difference between an individual race, like the 400m, and running a leg of the 4x4 or DMR?
"To me, I think when you're running on a 4x400, you have more adrenaline pumping because you're trying to run for your team and you don't want to let your team down, whereas when you're running an individual 400, it's just you. Whatever the outcome is, you have to deal with it. If you run slow on a 4x4, there are three other girls there, and you think, `man, I messed the team up.'"
Have you ever tried running long distance?
"Oh, no. Never. Never have I ever. And I don't want to."
Do you have any pre-meet or pre-race superstitions or rituals?
"I only eat in the morning. I have to have a really light breakfast. I cannot talk and socialize with people, joking and stuff. I can't do it. I have to go through my race two weeks prior to the actual meet and I have to run it over in my head and actually see myself on top of the podium. That's what I've done since high school."
Do you get nervous before you run?
"Oh, yeah, it used to be way worse, but I've started going to talk to Joe Whitney and Savannah (Knust), the sports psychologists. It gets better. I just try not to think about it as much."
What do you think about before a race and when you are running?
"Before my race, I just think about executing. During my race, I just think, 'You had better not let this girl catch you.' That's what I'm thinking the entire race."
What has been the impact of running with some of the Lady Vols and the post-collegiate runners you have met here at UT?
"I have friends for the rest of my life. They'll be my kids' godparents. They'll be in my wedding. I just have friends that I never, ever want to lose."
What is your favorite sport to play, or just watch, other than running?
"I like cheerleading competitions. People like to say it's not a sport, but it's a hard sport, and I love it."
Who are some athletes who you admire?
"I would say my best friend, Brittany Sheffey, the distance runner. She does some stuff that I could never do. She ranges from the 800 to the 3K, and sometimes the 5K, and I really admire her. She keeps me going and always motivates me. She's the only person in sports who I really admire."
What's something interesting about you that no one else knows?
"I guess that I only watch horror movies. I really don't like lovey-dovey or drama movies. I like the blood and guts and people screaming."
What's the one thing you can't live without?
"I can't live without my puppy, Onyx."
What are your goals for the season?
"My goal for the season is to at least place top three at nationals in the 200m."
What is your major, and what are your favorite classes?
"I am in graduate school, so I'm majoring in clinical therapy and social work. My favorite class is probably psychopathology."
Tell us about your internship.
"I work at a dialysis clinic in North Knoxville. My job there is to make sure people have the resources, medication management, and the things they need."