When Kevin Jones and his wife Maria couldn’t find a local summer track program for their sons Isaac and Nathaniel, they decided to head about 40 minutes down the road into Carrollton.
The commute has been worth it, since the two brothers have hooked up with former West Georgia track All-American Larry Turner.
Turner, who is also in the West Georgia Athletic Hall of Fame, has spent four decades training track and field athletes.
His resume includes working with former Tennessee track All-American Blake Sabo and Reggie Brown, who went on to play football at Georgia and had a short stint in the NFL.
Kevin, who is now the principal at Winston Dowdell, the alternative high school in Coweta County, has his own impressive athletic background.
The elder Jones played college baseball at the University of Georgia, and coached the game at the high school level, making coaching stops at Central of Carrollton and Carrollton High before eventually moving into administration, so he knew all about Turner’s reputation in developing young track athletes.
“He is definitely one of the best around,” Jones said “We were looking to get them into a quality program.”
Isaac, 15, is a sophomore at East Coweta High School, while Nathaniel, 13, is a eighth-grader at East Coweta Middle.
Both athletes specialize in three different events.
Isaac runs in the 400-meter, the 800 and the 4x800, while Nathaniel runs the 1500-meter, the 800 and the 4x400.
Even though Jones played Division I baseball, he doesn’t pressure his sons into sports.
“Dad and Mom have always been great about not doing that,” Isaac said. “We don’t have to do things we don’t want to do when it come to sports.”
At one time, Nathaniel played football for his middle school team, but gave it up to concentrate on track and field.
“There was no problem when I decided to stop playing football,” Nathaniel said.
This summer, both brothers have benefited from training under Turner’s watchful eye.
Isaac and his 4x800 relay team have qualified for the AAU Nationals later this summer, while Nathaniel has turned in personal bests in the 800 and 1500.
“Coach Turner was a really good distance runner in college, and he has really helped us with our training,” Isaac said.
Both brothers have added cross country to their training regiment and plan on running for their school cross country teams this fall.
“I think regardless of what events you run in track, you should participate in cross country,” Nathaniel said. “It helps keep you in shape.”
However, it’s not just about collecting track honors for the two student athletes.
Isaac and Nathaniel are well-rounded, good students.
In addition to his success in track, Isaac is also a talented artist.
A beautiful pencil-sketch of an Native American adorns part of one of the walls in his father Kevin’s office. “I have always loved to draw,” Isaac said.
Nathaniel has a passion for social studies. “I love learning about other cultures and economies,” he said.
The siblings are quick to give praise to their mother, Maria.
She is the one who makes the trek to Carrollton sometimes three times a week so her sons can train. Kevin agrees it’s his wife that makes it possible for her sons to train.
“She deserves all the credit. I used to be a coach. Now she does all the hard work when it comes to getting them where they need to be,” Kevin said.