The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

87° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    The art of balance

    UA freshman Britnie Jones, who graduated from high school early to compete for the gymnastics team, has been balancing the rigors of Division I athletics with the demands of college classes. Wildcats coaches and family said its part of Jones nature to not only take on tasks like those, but succeed at the challenges.
    UA freshman Britnie Jones, who graduated from high school early to compete for the gymnastics team, has been balancing the rigors of Division I athletics with the demands of college classes. Wildcats coaches and family said it’s part of Jones’ nature to not only take on tasks like those, but succeed at the challenges.

    College is the birthplace of multitasking. Whether it’s the challenge of making an essay deadline while battling last night’s hangover or simply grabbing a bite on the run, university students have to cope with the new environment or fall victim to the pace.

    Now throw in all of the typical daily stresses and add the task of competing for the Arizona gymnastics team. That’s just a glimpse of what freshmen Britnie Jones faces each day.

    If that’s not daunting enough, picture all of this taking place in the months that could have been your final ones as a senior in high school.

    “”(The coaches) approached Britnie back in October to ask if she would join the team for the upcoming season,”” said Jones’ mother, Nancy Jones. “”She turned 18 on Dec. 21 and left for Tucson on the 28th.””

    Jones, still a senior at the time, was ecstatic about the opportunity at hand, despite the extensive effort that would be needed to make it work.

    “”When presented with the opportunity, I couldn’t think of any reason to pass it up, so I came (to the UA). Simple as that,”” Jones said. “”I knew that U of A had a great facility and team, so why not get involved with it sooner?””

    In order to graduate early from Phoenix’s Shadow Mountain High School, she had to finish four semester classes in two months online on top of her normal schedule of four semester classes during the day.

    “”I decided in October to come to U of A, so as you can imagine it was crazy,”” she said. “”I had a bunch of classes to finish in a short amount of time, but what I was going to be a part of once I got here was what kept me going.””

    It’s no coincidence that Jones is full of confidence and motivation, as both of her parents were a part of Arizona gymnastics in their college years. Having grown up in a gym also gave Jones the edge she needed to get where she is today.

    “”I started the sport at 3 and I’ve been in it ever since,”” she said. “”It is very time consuming, so of course there are some things I missed out on, but they aren’t the end-of-the-world type things.

    “”I like to think of the rewards that came from those sacrifices, though”” she added. “”I mean, yeah, I missed watching a high school football game or two, but come on, I’m on a full-ride athletic scholarship at the University of Arizona now.””

    It goes without saying that nothing of worth comes without sacrifice, but everyone around Jones had faith in her decision.

    When she expressed her decision to her coach in Phoenix, Vasil Vetsev, last year, he gave it to her straight.

    “”I told her it was not going to be easy, probably even twice as hard,”” Vetsev said. “”But Britnie knew what she wanted and when she gets something in her head. She won’t stop until she’s achieved it.””

    Vetsev went on to explain that throughout her senior year Jones was exhausted, but she never gave up on her education or athletic responsibilities.

    “”She never wasted time,”” Vetsev said, “”and that is why she is there today.””

    Jones’ transition from high school to college has been an incredible experience for everyone involved.

    “”(Having competed at Arizona from 1979-84), I am totally living vicariously right now, and it’s so neat,”” Nancy Jones said.

    Jones is off to a solid start with the Gymcats, and her efforts are starting to pay off.

    “”Britnie Jones is now available to us and she’s a huge talent,”” said UA head coach Bill Ryden. “”She’s the type of kid, that before she leaves Arizona, she’ll be an all-around.””

    It is in her determined personality that Jones finds refuge in her sport and her future.

    “”Gymnastics is a unique sport in that you can never stop learning, which is why I fell in love with it,”” Jones said. “”Once you’ve mastered one skill, you try another. The sport as a whole is constantly growing and changing.””

    Nancy Jones said that although her daughter is still searching for her niche, as far as a career choice after athletics, Jones shows promise in the arts and has always been good with computers.

    “”Personality types tend to gravitate towards certain career paths,”” Nancy Jones said, “”so wherever she ends up, like gymnastics, I’m sure it’ll be something that requires hard work and attention to details.””

    The future remains unwritten for the moment, but Jones is excited to see what the world has in store. And, like a storybook plot line, Jones is solidified in the idea that a little hard work will go a long, long way.

    “”My goal is simply to do the best I can and focus on whatever task is at hand,”” she said. “”Balancing school and sports can be rough, but it really helps build time management skills that can be applied to anything in life.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search