High jumper Bloch-Jones competes at NCAA

Freshman high jumper Kandie Bloch-Jones represented the Illinois women’s track and field team this weekend at the NCAA Indoor Championships. 

Bloch-Jones, the team’s lone representative in the meet, placed 14th in the high jump. The finish earned her second-team All-America honors.

“It was an honor to compete at NCAAs as freshman,” Bloch-Jones said. “It was a great experience and hopefully the next seven times I go, the environment won’t be new to me.”

Bloch-Jones has been consistent all year and has begun her career on a strong, positive note.

“Kandie has really had an unbelievable start to her career,” head coach Ron Garner said. “We’re really proud of her and she will only continue to get better.”

Bloch-Jones grabbed a conference title in the high jump on March 1 at Big Ten Indoor Championships. She finished her indoor campaign with a strong performance.

She finished the meet with a performance of 5 feet, 9 inches, which was below her season- and personal-best mark of 5 feet, 11 1/2 inches. She posted her best at the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 14. Georgia’s Leontia Kallenou won the event with a performance of 6 feet, 1 inch.

“I wasn’t happy with the way I performed,” Bloch-Jones said. “I’ll be able to learn from this experience and improve upon my performance next time.”

Next time will come in two weeks, when the team will travel to Arizona to compete in the Arizona State Invite, the first meet of the outdoor season.

Until then, Bloch-Jones will use this time off to rest and focus on technical work as she hopes to continue her success.

“Next for me is to keep improving, I need to work on my mechanics in order to get 6 feet,” she said. “My goals for outdoor are to be Big Ten champion and to compete at nationals and hopefully do better than I did this time.”

Mubarak can be reached at [email protected] and @justmubar.