Baker's Rasean Jones is No. 13 all-time in Oregon in the 300 hurdles, running 37.65 at the Oregon Relays. (Photo by Jon Olson)
Baker's Rasean Jones is No. 13 all-time in Oregon in the 300 hurdles, running 37.65 at the Oregon Relays. (Photo by Jon Olson)

During the winter, Baker sophomore Rasean Jones was busy helping lead the Bulldogs to the 4A basketball title.

Unlike his freshman year, though, Jones was able to squeeze in some track workouts. And the results have been obvious.

The reigning 4A champion in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles started the season strong and continues to make steady improvement. His times of 14.37 and 37.65 have shaved .48 and 2.09 seconds, respectively, off his bests from a year ago.

“I've definitely surprised myself so far,” the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Jones said. “Just excited to see what the rest of the season holds. There's so much more time to improve.”

In the 300 hurdles, Jones clocked 39.81, 38.49 and 38.10 in his first three meets, then cranked it up another notch Saturday in the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field, running 37.65 to beat Hazen (Wash.) sophomore Kenyon Andrews by .20 seconds.

The performance came about 20 minutes after Jones struggled to ninth place in the 110 hurdles final, finishing in 15.17 after brushing one hurdle and knocking into another.

“Coming off of that, I was definitely more motivated to go in the 300s, and run hard and try my best to win that one,” Jones said. “Especially in the 300s, up to that point I hadn't really raced anybody near my time. It definitely made a difference, just seeing people around me, to push me to run faster.”

Jones' time in the 300 hurdles ranks him No. 13 all-time in Oregon. With his dramatic improvement this season, he has moved within sight of the state record of 36.10, set by Aloha's Ken Scott in 1979.

“I've heard about people way back when, but I guess I never though about it until now,” Jones said of chasing a record. “I don't really set too many goals, necessarily. Just kind of training my hardest and leave the rest up to God.”

After nearly matching his personal best in the 300 hurdles in his first meet, Jones had modest expectations for how much lower he could go this season.

“I was like, 'I'm probably not going to get too much faster, maybe low 39s at best,'” Jones said. “And then the Centennial Invitational hit, and I ran 38.10. I was like, 'Whoa, that's probably the best I'll get.' Then at the Oregon Relays, I ran even better. I guess I'll stop telling myself there's a limit.”

Jones said he will use the disappointment in the 110 hurdles at the Oregon Relays as fuel. He entered the final as the No. 2 qualifier after clocking his PR of 14.37 in prelims.

“I can definitely improve on some things technique-wise and mentally, just critiquing some things that I think could make a big difference in these next meets,” he said. “But coming off of the Relays, the only way you learn is by losing. So I think it's definitely good to lose and see where other people are at.”

Jones leads the state in the 300 hurdles, far ahead of Catlin Gabel senior Joshua Widdows (39.27). Jones is ranked second in the 110 hurdles behind Grants Pass senior Jayden Jessee (14.13), the Oregon Relays winner.

Jones also is part of a 4x400 relay that set the school record at the Oregon Relays. Senior Malaki Myer, Jones, senior Giacomo Rigueiro and junior Jaron Long took seventh place in 3:23.77, the best 4A time in the state this season.

Winning the state basketball title was an emotional high for Jones. His father, Jebron, is the coach, and his junior brother, Isaiah, joined him in the starting lineup.

The Jones brothers combined for 32 points in the championship game, a 75-58 win over Junction City, as the Bulldogs completed a 28-1 season.

“The week after state, I came back and I was running on Monday,” Rasean said. “I didn't really have too much time for it to set in. Honestly, I haven't really thought about it too much.

“It definitely felt good to be done with basketball, and end it the way it ended. I didn't really take too much of a break. Switching sports was enough for me to forget about basketball and just focus on track.”

Jones thought he would need time to adjust after growing about one inch and adding about 15 pounds from last season, but he quickly found his groove.

“I thought I'd feel sluggish or slow, honestly, but I feel more strong and powerful,” he said. “I definitely feel more stable. I have a stronger base. A year ago, I was definitely not as strong physically or mentally. I just wasn't as much in track shape as I am this year.”

Jones' athleticism also was on display during football season, when he stood out as a receiver, defensive end, linebacker and safety. He was a 4A first-team pick at receiver, catching 74 passes for 986 yards in 10 games.

Jones said he hopes to play football in college.

“But if I could play football and run track at the same time, I think that would be great,” he said.

It's a busy spring for the Jones brothers. While Rasean is on the track, Isaiah is leading Baker in its bid to repeat as the 4A golf champion. Isaiah finished third in the state tournament last year.

“It's definitely cool that we don't do all the same sports, so we get to get away from each other, while still supporting each other and being happy for each other,” Rasean said.

Oregon Relays

The efforts by Jones and Jessee were among 12 state-best performances in the Oregon Relays last weekend.

Lake Oswego senior Josie Donelson ran 42.39 to win the 300 hurdles, improving on her previous best of 42.60 from last season. She moved up to No. 2 in state history behind Oregon City's Harley Daniel (42.23 in 2022).

Other girls recording state bests in the meet were Roosevelt sophomore Aster Jones (11.89 in 100), Jesuit junior Emma Bennett (2:09.71 in 800), Churchill sophomore Addison Kleinke (13-5 ½ in pole vault), Westview's 4x100 relay (48.47) and Lake Oswego's 4x400 relay (3:56.52).

Kleinke's mark is within two inches of the state record that she set last year.

In the boys meet, Sheldon senior Adam Reeder (1:53.12 in 800), Crater junior Josiah Tostenson (3:50.23 in 1,500), Crater senior Gabriel Grant (23-6 ¼ in long jump) and Sheldon junior Eli Forsha (47-1 ¼ in triple jump) also moved to the top of the season-best list.

Girls notes

Tigard sophomore Marissa Johnson, the reigning 6A champion in the shot, set a personal best with a throw of 45-3 on April 16. Johnson leads the state in the shot and discus (145-11 ½). … Lakeview sophomore Paige Owens broke a 19-year-old school record in the triple jump with a mark of 35-0 ½ in the Coldwell Bank Invitational on Saturday, winning by a half-inch over Mazama junior Mada Lee. The old record of 34-6 was owned by Megan Masterson (2005). Owens entered with a best of 32-6 and went 34-1 on her first attempt. … Enterprise junior Navaeh James set a school record in the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.95 on Friday in a meet at Nyssa. … Amity junior Mya Haarsma has set school records in the 100 (12.58) and 200 (26.03) this season. She also anchors a 4x100 relay (50.55) that broke the school record. … Thurston senior Bailey Tovey, who has hit six home runs for the softball team, also is having a big season in track. In 5A, she ranks second in the shot (39-6) and fifth in the javelin (128-0).