LEWISBURG, Pa. - Franciscan University of Steubenville's Bill Jones won the 10K race at the the Bucknell Bison Invitational Saturday in 29:11.37, making him the second fastest runner in Division III outdoor track and field history.
"It was the best race of my life," Jones said. "I surprised myself."
While the other members of the Barons track team competed at the Westminster Invitational, Jones traveled with assistant coach Daniel Kuebler to the Bison Invitational, a Division I meet.
Not only did Jones win the race against Division I opponents, he also beat the 2012 Atlantic 10 10K champion, Kevin McDonnell.
"I was with him in the first half," Jones said. "Then he pulled away about 20 yards and I started to gradually reel him back in. Then, at the last mile, I started to pull away."
Jones crossed the finish line five seconds ahead of McDonnell.
"It was one of the best races I've ever seen in my life," said Kuebler, who is also the Barons' cross country head coach. "He ran smart and he ran tough."
Jones said the tougher competition and relaxed atmosphere of a Division I meet with limited expectations and pressure helped him run a faster time than ever. Jones was able to focus on himself instead of his opponents.
"I didn't think I was going to come back," Jones said, "I just ran my race and once I realized he was in reach, I took him."
Jones, who came in 15th in the 10K at the Division III national championships last season, said that all year his coaches have been telling him to just run his race. Jones ran nearly even splits for the 25-lap race, playing to his natural strengths as a long distance runner.
"That's exactly what I did," Jones said. "The key to success is running the race that you know how to run. I ran even and controlled and that's my raceand it worked."
Jones, who ranks first in the nation in Division II and Division III and 11th in Division I, travels to the Penn Relays next week to compete in the 5000.
"I want to thank all of my coaches, especially coach Kuebler for taking me out here. They made it possible," Jones said. "I thank my teammates for being so supportive. You guys inspire me too. Just because we're at different meets doesn't mean we're not a team. We're all in this together."