by Elzie Dickens
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Evergreen Geoducks athletics has been a rollercoaster this year, with some teams finding great success and teams dealing with adversity. Through it all, there have been student-athletes who have caught the eyes of their peers and have established themselves as budding stars. Many have shown themselves worthy of high recognition and accolades, but few compare to the natural abilities of these two young men.
Meet Wes and Les Jones, identical twins who run for your 2013 Geoduck track team. With the 2013 Cascade Confernece Championships on the horizon, there is hope that these two will make a huge impact on the team results.
With flash-like speed, they’ve opened up the eyes of many not only here at Evergreen, but at nearly every meet they’ve competed in. Both only stand 5-6 tall, but their height doesn’t reflect on how fast their legs move and how quickly they can get from point A to point B . Not many know of these great athletic specimens, and it’s about time to introduce them to the rest of their colleagues on the Evergreen campus. They have come a long ways to get to Olympia, and have a lot to say and share.
On August 17 in the city of Alton, Illinois, the doctors at St. Anthony’s Hospital were vigorously working to deliver a set of twins. After a great deal of labor, Wes Jones emerged, then Les followed suit two minutes after (or so they believe). There have been arguments between the Jones twins over who was born first.
“The whole time my family thought Les was born first because he was bigger than me,” said Wes Jones.
Growing up everyone around them thought the same until one day the Jones twins decided to take matters into their own hands.
“When we turned 17 we looked at our birth certificates and found out I was older,” said Wes Jones.
While finally getting an answer to their mystery question, another incident arises, which one is really Les and which one is really Wes? You heard correct, they may not be who they believe they are. Their eldest sister changed their nametags at birth so there is a possibility Wes Jones could be Les, and vice versa.
The Jones twins grew up in Alton, Illinois, but from the get go their parents knew they had something special and decided it would be in the best interest for the family to move.
“We wanted to have a better life, where we’re from gangs ruled the streets” said Les Jones. “It wasn’t safe.”
The Jones family first migrated south to Mississippi for about two years, and found that trouble was still an issue. Their eldest sister moved to Washington first with her husband for better opportunities, and when the twins were 7 the Jones family decided to follow suit and make the Northwest their home.
The love of running began during recess in elementary school where the twins joined a track club. Every day at recess they had the choice of playing tether ball, four square, or run for the majority of their free time. Running became an everyday activity, and had its rewards to follow.
“I always ran every day, as soon as lunch was over I would dart right out the doors unto the cemented course around the field,” said Wes Jones.
They were rewarded tickets that could be used to obtain prizes for how long they ran. The twins and a friend would always see who could run the most and get the most tickets, and this is where the competition between the two started to blossom. Both are humble when talking about each other, but when it comes to competing they always try to out each other. They both have a tremendous amount of speed, but someone has to have an advantage somewhere.
“Sometimes I beat him, sometimes he beats me,” Wes said. “It all depends on the event and the distance.”
One has the speed of a cheetah (fast but not lasting) and the other speed like a greyhound (long lasting).
“Wes is faster than me in the 800, but I’m better in the 1500 because it’s my race,” said Les Jones.
The twins attended Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma, where they continued to pursue and find great success in track as well as cross country. They both went to state but fell short of winning, which made them more determined to compete and do well at the college level. They both were offered scholarships for cross country and track at the Evergreen State College.
They chose Evergreen to not only test them at the four year level but because most people from their area go to community college only to fall short and drop out.
“If I drop out of a college let it be a four year,” said Wes Jones.
So far they’ve been able to find success in both the classroom and track and field settings.
“I chose Evergreen cause it was close to home and, I can really focus here,” said Les Jones.
For Wes Jones, the season started off a little slow because of eligibility and clearance issues. Though the adversity and slight postponement, he has stayed positive and is now a full participant with the Geoducks track team.
“Last year I had to red-shirt because of my high school academics, and I had to red shirt some of this year because I was waiting for the NAIA to receive my paperwork,” said Wes Jones. “It’s been a long wait for me.”
An unfortunate situation indeed, but they say that anything worth having is worth the waiting for. This statement has shown itself to be true, because just after only three races he’s already made a big impact.
“After three races I have come in first one race and was nominated athlete of the week,” said Wes Jones.
He is also one second away from breaking Evergreens track record which is a huge accomplishment that he should soon overtake.
“My goal for this season is to break the school record and qualify for nationals,” said Wes Jones.
For Les Jones, the season is going well for the most part. When we get so used to doing something repetitiously, it’s hard to convert to something that differs. This is like a high school football player going to college, they rarely recruit you for the position you’re playing.
“I’m still trying to get use to running the 1500,” said Les Jones. “It’s such a different race, in high school I was use to running the mile.”
With change comes patience, and with hard work and dedication this will soon be a breeze for the young athlete. This is his passion, and it is something he will learn to overcome and conquer.
“It is a passion taught me discipline at a young,” said Les Jones. “It has also taught me the values of being loyal and committed.”
With these values are birthed goals that are definitely in arms reach with enough work ethic.
“My personal goal is to get a personal record in the 1500, stay healthy, and beat as many people in the conference,” said Les.
Outside of being in school and being superheroes on the track field, Wes and Les Jones live the lives of regular students on campus. If you don’t see them walking around campus laughing and enjoying life, you’ll find them in the gym/weight room getting a good lift and cardio session in.
“I like playing basketball and ultimate Frisbee in my spare time,” said Les Jones. “I also like playing 2k and just having a good time being social.”
They even have some cool unique talents they enjoy in as well.
“I love to work on cars and fix things around the house on my free time,” said Wes Jones. “I also really enjoy playing the drums and my Xylophone.”
Being track runners, they always have to keep hydrated and have to eat good filling foods. Like most of you have guessed, they both love to drink water. Their favorite dish differs from one another which tares down the saying that twins have everything in common.
“My favorite thing to eat is soul food,” said Wes Jones.
Les taste leaned towards something different.
“My favorite thing to eat is spaghetti,” said Les Jones.
They not only attend school at the Evergreen State College, but they boast and rep Goeduck nation wherever they go. They really enjoy being students athletes at this college, one of the reasons is because of the accountability.
“I am accountable for my own learning, and taking the initiative to actually want to better myself,” said Les Jones. “You are kind of in competition with yourself to see how much you can grow as a person.”
Another reason is the control given over one’s own success. In high school people pick classes for you to take, whereas in college your destiny and the road you choose rest in your own hands.
“I am in control of my own learning,” said Wes Jones. “I get to choose my own classes and learn what I want to learn.”
The Jones twins are something special, something that most don’t ever get a chance to witness. If you see them around campus be sure to say hello, they’d love to meet new people and make new friends. Go support them and the track team at their next event, you’re presence and support is very much needed. Now you know Wes and Les Jones.