By Javier Giribet-Vargas
Kaiyah Jones spent her senior year excelling academically, at work, at track and at motherhood.
Despite working past midnight on a regular basis, the recent W.T. White graduate finished her school year with strong grades and as an acclaimed track-star who earned an athletic scholarship.
“One of my biggest track accomplishments was running a lap (400 meters) in under a minute,” she said. “I was able to finish school, work, go to practice early in the mornings, and still make good grades and do everything right. I had a baby last year and still participated in Cross Country, came to practices, went to every meet and graduated.”
Jones ran with the team that qualified for regionals in the 4 × 200 and was part of the Longhorn squad that won District Champions in the 4 × 400 (two track competitions in which teams of four athletes run a relay race where each runner completes 200 meters or 400 meters, depending on the event). Individually, she placed as a district finalist in the 800 meter-race and is a two-time regional qualifier in the 400-meter dash.
Coach Michael Martin has taught physical education at W.T. White for 17 years and has led the Longhorn Girls Track team for the last 13 years. When he met Jones during her sophomore year, he was amazed by her attitude of relentless self-improvement. He noticed that she had a great work ethic and a natural gift of leadership.
“She’s a nice kid. We never gave up on her and she never gave up on us,” Martin said. “She practices hard and is one of the athletes who gets her teammates to practice. And as a student, she did what she was supposed to do, took charge of a tough situation and did the best she could. Her efforts paid through, because she ended up getting an athletic scholarship.”
Jones relentlessly kept her grades up, worked long hours into the night and continued to support her team, even throughout her pregnancy and after giving birth to her daughter Legacy in July 2020.