If you’re in a gym at Elk Lake, it is hard not to notice one name that appears frequently on many of the championship banners.
It is a fairly ordinary name, but the feats of this family are far from ordinary.
Luke, Kenzie, Keri, Peyton, Krista, and Kendel comprise the Jones family siblings. Their contribution to Elk Lake cross country and track has been record altering, as the oldest five have excelled for the Warriors, while the youngest is still in elementary school.
The journey began, according to patriarch Bill, when Luke was initially noticed in gym class in sixth grade doing well with the mile run on the track. Coach Will Squier mentioned to Luke’s parents that Luke would do well with cross country and track.
And then it began.
“The rest of the kids all have seen the success of their siblings and decided to run,” said Bill. “They realized that they would have opportunities to be successful and excel in the sport as well. They seem to enjoy it and it is good for their health.”
Luke, class of 2013, placed eighth overall as a sophomore individually at the 2010 PIAA state meet and was a member of the Warriors State Championship team.
The next two years he was a state silver medalist, and not surprisingly, was named the 2011 and 2012 Lackawanna League runner of the year.
But that was only in the fall. In the spring, Luke added more hardware in the 3200 meter, placing in the top 10 three times.
Luke opted to stay home after graduating from Elk Lake and work on the family farm, and though he doesn’t run competitively anymore, is very supportive of his siblings races.
Kenzie, a Mansfield University student, also excelled at Elk Lake. She was a member of the Lady Warriors cross country team that won the state championship, and was also state runner up in 2013 and 2014. In 2014, she placed 11th in the state individual contest.
The 2015 Elk Lake alum, who ran alongside siblings Luke and Keri in high school, has continued to excel at the NCAA level.
For the Mounties, Kenzie has been on the cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field rosters. Her honors have been too numerous to mention, but in 2018-19, she was named Mansfield Winter Athlete Of The Year.
And she keeps running.
Kenzie will graduate in the spring of 2020 from Mansfield with a degree in education.
“At Elk Lake, I enjoyed running with my teammates and learning about running from my amazing coaches,” she said. “I still run occasionally with my college team because it is something I enjoy doing. ”
Keri, a Lady Warrior who in 2017 traded in her Elk Lake uniform for a Lebanon Valley College one, is another NCAA multisport athlete.
Keri said, “I don’t really have an off season. My teammates and I get two weeks off after outdoor track in the spring then roll right into summer training for cross country.”
Keri also played basketball in Dimock, but admits, “I sometimes miss basketball because I love the game and have a lot of great memories from high school. Now I really enjoy watching Krista and Kendel play.”
Keri’s accomplishments include being a part of the 2013, 2014, and 2016 team state runner up finishes for cross country and a sixth place state finish in the 3200 relay in 2015.
For LVC, Keri has stepped up her game, as she was recently named the MAC runner of the week.
Keri, who ran alongside Kenzie at Elk Lake, said of her high school days, “I miss all my teammates from high school cross country. We always had a very close team and some of my best memories of high school were from cross country. We still get together over breaks from college to catch up and visit.”
She is no slouch in the classroom either, as she is currently in grad school for physical therapy. She will graduate next year with a bachelor’s in exercise science.
“I run because I enjoy being on a team, and it is a great stress reliever, especially with grad school,” she added.
Three time PIAA cross country district medalist, three time state qualifier, and two time state medalist Peyton is now making a name for himself at Morrisville State University.
Though he readily admits that his favorite part of running is the competition and having fun with his teammates, Peyton finds his inspiration in his family, coaches, teammates, and girlfriend.
According to the Elk Lake class of 2019 grad, running appeals to him because it is rewarding, and the clock never lies.
In the short time the freshman has been in a Mustang uniform, he has already collected two Morrisville Athlete of the week awards and a NEAConference runner of the week.
He admits that the biggest challenge between transition from Elk Lake to college is that the length of the race is longer than any high school race.
He will be in the Morrisville State class of 2021 with an intention of an agricultural business major.
Krista is the only one currently on a Warrior roster. As a sophomore, she has finished in first place in each of the Lady Warriors last four cluster meets. In the first meet of the season, she finished second by a narrow margin of a second.
Last years District 2 cross country champion, who finished 17th overall in the PIAA individual state race as a freshman, would like to run cross country in college.
“I love my team and my coaches, and I love talking with my teammates on runs and the feeling when I finish my race,” she said.
She feels some pressure to follow her siblings impressive lead, but doesn’t focus on that.
“I think about my race strategy and how I am going to execute it,” she said.
As the fifth Jones sibling to have her name on a Warriors roster, she has grown up around the sport, and program, and can appreciate what her siblings have to offer.
She offered, “Kenzie is always happy to help me with race strategies, but I would have hated to face Luke because he was really good at hills.”
Bill touched on the impact Coach Squier has had on his family, saying, “Coach Squier coaches all athletes to their highest potential. He cares about them on and off the cross country course and track. He has high expectations for all the athletes, not only in performance, but also in character. He is a very dedicated coach who goes above and beyond for the kids.”
Coming full circle in the Jones family, the youngest Warrior, Kendel, is a sixth grader expecting to earn a roster spot.
“I have run with Keri and Peyon in high school, and next year I will be teammates with Kendel,” added Krista.
Kendel plays basketball like older sisters Kenzie, Keri, and Krista, but says he wants to follow in all his siblings footsteps in cross country and track.
“The awards and records are good and they worked really hard to get them,” he said of his older siblings records.
But when asked which sibling he would not want to line up against, he said,
“Ask me that again in a couple of years.”