Brothers anchor track family
Zach Wagner | Collegio Reporter
For the past two years, PSU’s track team has benefitted from the double-trouble performance of brothers Keenan Soles and Kiara Jones.
Besides sharing a family tree, Soles, a sophomore, and Jones, a senior, have other characteristics in common. Both post impressive numbers in jumping competitions and both graduated from Pittsburg High School. Though they did not compete side-by-side before college, Jones says did not prevent him from being a mentor for Soles.
“Back when I was a senior and he was a freshman, we didn’t really compete together,” Jones said. “I was on varsity and he was on the freshman squad, but we practiced together on the track.”
Jones left a prolific record for Soles to follow at PHS. He was a consistent 4A All-State performer in both football and track, and Jones was able to guide his brother through the recruitment process, giving him tips as he made his way to PSU’s track team. These tips included knowing the best way to communicate with college coaches and remaining financially stable, too.
“It’s what big brothers do. We try to keep them from making the mistakes that we have made,” Jones said. “I helped him in the recruiting process, told him to listen to what all the coaches have to say and try to weed out all the crap the coaches will feed him. I also told him to take the ACT early as possible and to file FASFA quick.”
Soles quickly followed in his brother’s footsteps, joining the PSU track team in the fall of 2010. He soon took a liking to working alongside his brother.
“One of the best things about having my brother on the team is that when competition is around, we always have someone to get us going because he is our senior jump captain,” Soles said. “Our jump squad has all become a family throughout the season. We help each other when we need it, and we always keep each other going feeding off of each other’s energy.”
The PSU jump squad has fed off that energy and then some. In the Gorilla’s recent home meet, Soles won the long jump with a mark of 25-7 1/4, which directly qualified him to compete at Nationals, which will be held in May. Soles is also the third leg of the 4×100-meter relay team. Last Saturday, the four runners scored a provisional qualifying time of 40.78 seconds.
Soles says their success won’t stop after their recent meet, and he has high hopes for the team’s future.
“I would really like to win conference as a team this year,” Soles said. “That would be great for all the seniors leaving next year, and be a big boost for the national meet in Colorado.”
As for Jones, the longtime Pitt State athlete says he has some business to finish before he graduates.
“I’m looking to win conference and nationals in the triple jump,” Jones said. “I’m looking to jump at the Olympic Trials in June as well.”
Jones and Soles are certainly a force to be reckoned with at PSU and, maybe some day, in the Summer Olympics.