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Tom Mix, Published May 19 2013

Lisbon track standout has one last hurdle to clear

Lisbon, N.D. - Lisbon’s Natallie Jones can run an open sprint race, but adding hurdles to the equation is when the Broncos’ senior track standout starts to separate from the rest of North Dakota Class B.

Jones excels in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles. She has posted personal-best times of 15.54 seconds in the 100 hurdles and 45.36 seconds in the 300 hurdles this season. Both marks also broke school records.

Jones will run in both events at the state track and field meet set for Friday and Saturday at the Community Bowl in Bismarck.

“I’ve done the hurdles since junior high,” said Jones. “They have always been fun to do. I don’t really like a straight open run. Hurdles make it interesting.”

Jones also posted state-qualifying times in the 200 meters, the 400-meter relay and the 800-meter relay this spring.

“Anything we ask her to do, she does,” Lisbon girls track and field coach Chelsey Heitkamp said. “She is very coachable.”

Heitkamp said Jones would have qualified in the 400 meters had the season not started so late.

Instead, Jones focused on her stronger events and made a few adjustments from previous seasons.

“I finally started three-stepping between hurdles in the 100,” Jones said. “I had always four-stepped. I changed it up and that dropped my time a lot in that event. The season has gone pretty smooth for the short amount of time we have had.”

Had there been more meets, Jones said her times would have dropped. Entering Saturday’s Class B region meets, Jones had the state’s fastest time in the 300 hurdles and was tied with Mott-Regent junior Abby Honeyman for the fastest 100 hurdles time.

“The hurdle events are just so smooth for Natallie,” Heitkamp said. “They really come easy to her.”

Jones won both the 100 and 300 hurdles at the Southeast Region meet in Valley City on Saturday with times of 15.78 and 46.24, respectively. She also placed second in the 200 meters and was a member of the Broncos’ first-place 400-meter relay team that raced to a time of 51.52.

Entering state, Honeyman and Dakota Wood of Hazen have faster seed times than Jones in the 100 hurdles. Wood also has a time slightly faster in the 300.

Like she has her entire career, Jones will put her time in practicing the hurdles everyday leading up to her final track meet as a Bronco.

“I’m hoping to get out of the blocks fast,” Jones said of her strategy at state. “And stay strong the whole race.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562