Stepping it up


Kevin Gutierrez

Senior Stephfan Jackson conditions himself by doing weighted 40-yard sprints. This year is Jackson’s first. He competes in the 100-meter dash and is one of the fastest sprinters on this year’s team.

Arthur Jones has been coaching various track and field programs in Stockton since 2006. So far, over the 13 years of his coaching career, Jones has coached for a track and field club called the Stockton Saints, Delta College, and most recently, Bear Creek High School.

After a decade-long tenure with the Bruins, Jones accepted the head coach position for Stagg and plans to use his experience to take the program to next level.

One of his first courses of action after returning to his alma mater was to add to the coaching staff in order to increase the productivity of practices and to ensure that athletes can receive training specific to their particular event. The staff now consists of nine coaches, a higher number than previous years.

“The practices have been a lot more efficient,” Jones said. “All the kids are really in tune, their focus is better, and they are more willing to learn now.”

Jones sees a lot of potential within Stagg’s program and says that while he will have to build upon the team’s overall technique and execution, there is plenty of natural talent present in the team.

“Right now, I have kids who I think will really go on and compete at the Division I level,” Jones said. “And there is one girl who is already an Olympic prospect.”

Junior Lamonte Walker and sophomore Tierra Davis are two athletes who fit into these respective categories.

Walker competes in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 4×1, and the 4×4 and has benefited greatly from the program changes.

“Having all the new coaches really helps me a lot because I’ve known a lot of them since I was young,” Walker said. “They know what they’re doing and they’ve sent people to compete at the state level.”

Davis, though only a sophomore, is an All-American in the 100m hurdles and competed in Iowa last summer for Nationals where she placed No. 2. Despite her success, she feels that being part of Stagg’s program will take her performance to higher heights.

“The practices are really intense and the competition is really high,” Davis said.

Both agree that the additions to the coaching staff help to create a more productive training culture that they can thrive in.

“Besides producing top-level athletes, my ultimate goal is to make the track and field program a magnet for Stagg High School,” Jones said. “And that’s a real possibility with this group.”