Jones a success in football, wrestling, and track and field
By Mike Clark
The new year is off to a good start for TF South’s Cortez Jones.
On January 13, the senior announced his commitment to continue his football career at reigning NCAA Division III national champion North Central. Then on Saturday, Jones pinned his way to the 285-pound wrestling title in the South Suburban Conference meet at Argo.
“That was my number 1 goal,” Jones said of winning a conference championship.
He did it in a tough bracket, beating three opponents who are a combined 82-20.
The goal coming in for Jones? “To make my name noticed … just coming out of nowhere.”
Jones wrestled as a freshman, but didn’t compete during the delayed and abbreviated COVID season and “barely wrestled junior year,” he said.
So this is just his second full season, and his first varsity campaign.
A lot of athletes planning to compete in college step away from their secondary sports to start prepping for the next step in their athletic career.
But Jones said that was never a consideration for him. He saw it as a chance to push his limits: “Just to see where I’m at, see if it can be done.”
In any case, he sees wrestling as a way to get better as a football player, noting the similar skill sets required. “Especially on the line, you have hand leverage, explosiveness,” Jones said.
Up next is the IHSA state series. TF South is assigned to the Class 3A Lockport Regional on February 4, with qualifiers advancing to the Normal Individual Sectional on February 10–11 and then the state finals February 16–18 in Champaign.
Jones isn’t overlooking anyone, but said getting to state is “at the top of the list.”
When wrestling ends, Jones will move on to his third sport as a thrower in track and field.
Specialization is the norm these days for high school athletes, but Jones loves going from sport to sport, season to season.
“I feel like football is my primary sport,” he said. “Wrestling and throwing is something that helps me get better at football.”
Come this fall, that sport will be his focus at North Central. After playing both ways at South, Jones will focus on the offensive line for the Cardinals. North Central always was high on Jones’ list. He was in contact with its coaches since before last season and was a camp attendee there.
“The football aspect, the education aspect, it’s close to home — it checked off every box,” Jones said.
TF South’s wrestlers finished eighth among 14 teams at the conference meet with 41.5 points. Also earning medals for the Red Wolves were Trayvonne Roberts and Hiawatha Owens, who were fourth at 126 and 182 pounds, respectively.
The Red Wolves are 11-11 overall and 5-3 in the South Suburban Blue after splitting a pair of games — beating Bremen 71-65 on Friday and losing 53-45 to Thornton in the Chelby Frazier Shootout at Thornwood on Saturday.
Romello Ali led four scorers in double figures against Bremen, scoring 20 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Marqell Wilson had 17 points, Daetwan Thomas added 16 and Sam Townsend scored 11.
Thomas led the Red Wolves against Thornton, scoring 17. Ali had 13 points and eight rebounds despite missing time in the second half with an ankle injury.
The Red Wolves’ season ended with a 14th-place finish among 16 full teams in the Plainfield North Sectional on Saturday at Town & Country Lanes in Joliet. South rolled a 5,732 for six games (191 average).
Mike Chancey had South’s high series (1,258) and high game (236). Dakota Vaughn had an 1,128 series and Ethan Modjeski rolled an 1,115.
The Red Wolves tied the program record with their 21st win of the season, 67-39 over Bremen on Thursday.
Tariya Wright had 25 points, four assists, and three steals, while Gigi Dillon contributed a double-double (17 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals) and Katlynn Williams-Clark chipped in with 11 rebounds and five assists.
TF South (21-4, 7-1 South Suburban Blue) also beat Gary (Ind.) Bowman 69-22 on January 14 and defeated Oak Lawn 48-40 on Tuesday. Tariya Wright led the way against Bowman with 16 points, while Rayvan Rush had 12 points and eight steals. Ahliyah Stepheny and Gigi Dillon both scored 10 points, and Jaiden Thompson had six assists.
Wright had a double-double in the Oak Lawn game, finishing with 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Rush had 10 points and six assists, and Dillon grabbed 15 rebounds.
This past weekend the dance team attended the South Suburban Conference competition at Argo High School and finished in fourth place.
The squad also attended the Phoenix Military Academy Invitational, where they finished second with their AAA poms routine. They also took second with their AAA hip hop routine. The performances qualified the team for the state championship on February 11 in Springfield.
The Spartans (17-6, 6-4 East Suburban Catholic) have won four in a row after beating Nazareth 50-42 on Friday and rolling past Danville 48-27 on Saturday.
Donovan Juzang scored 11 points against Nazareth, one more than Quentin Jones and Zack Sharkey.
Jonah Weathers hit four 3-pointers and scored a game-high 18 points in the win over Danville. James Bullock grabbed eight rebounds.
Carmel outscored Marian 13-0 in the fourth quarter and snapped the Spartans’ 14-game winning streak, winning 34-24 on Saturday.
Madison Davis had 14 points for the Spartans (21-3, 2-1 East Suburban Catholic).
Jevon Warren was named to the all-tourney team and the Meteors went 2-1 at last week’s Salem Mid-Winter Tournament in downstate Illinois.
TF North (15-3) beat Effingham 60-51 on Thursday, lost 70-58 to East St. Louis on Friday, and defeated Carbondale 46-44 on Saturday.
Warren scored 12 points against Effingham and 23 against East St. Louis. Jayden Small had 17 points vs. Effingham and 14 vs. East St. Louis, while Chase Abraham had 17 vs. East St. Louis and 17 vs. Carbondale. Chris Cook added 11 points on Saturday.
David Holnes averaged 214, finishing with a 1,284 total for six games at the Plainfield North Sectional. The cutoff for automatic qualification for the state tournament was 1,315.
- TF North’s Jevon Warren leads Meteor Basketball’s turnaround season – other local scores (January 19, 2023)
- Bouncing back: Caleb Newman leads Red Wolves in points, rebounds after last year’s injury (January 13, 2023)
- Illiana baseball receives state championship rings (January 12, 2023)