Derrick Jones embraced the role of specializing in the 400-meter dash during his days at Rogers High School from 2010-2012.
Halfway through his freshman season at the University of Washington, Jones has switched to the 400 hurdles.
Jones, whose best time in 2013 was 54.4 seconds, said he’s determined to get into the 51s during the outdoor season.
“The 400 hurdles is just a different race compared to the 400,” he said. “It feels likes it’s actually going by faster, because you are so focused on the hurdles.
“It’s definitely been a challenge. I have been working on my form.”
Jones said he enjoys the competitive atmosphere during practice sessions.
“We all push each other because we all want to do well,” he said. “Everything at this level is a lot more competitive than in high school. It’s a challenge, but I’ve adapted to that.”
The Herald recently asked Jones a few questions about his life away from the track.
The Herald: What is your current living situation at the University of Washington?
Derrick Jones: My freshman year, I lived in the dorms. Now I live in an apartment with three of my track teammates. They’re all my best friends. It’s been really fun living off campus and makes me feel like more of an adult. It is a lot of fun.
TH: What part of the college has surprised you the most?
DJ: Probably just the amount of time we have. School isn’t that long, like in high school. You have all of this time you didn’t have before. I didn’t expect that.
TH: What are some of your favorite hobbies away from track and school?
DJ: I love playing volleyball when it’s nice outside. If I’m having a bad day, I will go to the gym and play basketball. I miss basketball. It is an outlet for me.
TH: What has been the toughest academic course for you thus far?
DJ: Psychology 101. There is just so much stuff to know.
TH: Where is your favorite hangout at UW?
DJ: We typically hang out at the track house quite a bit.
TH: How often do you make the drive back to Puyallup?
DJ: It really varies a lot. Sometimes I will come home twice a month, but there are other months where I don’t go home at all. I definitely don’t go home as much as I would like to.
Sports Editor Shaun Scott can be reached at 253-552-7002 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_shaun.