Kehri Jones is a 24-year-old hometown girl who graduated with the Ellison High School Class of 2010 and is currently involved in overseas competitions that could qualify her as a member of the U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team that will compete in the Winter Olympics next month in South Korea.
Johes’ mother, Tametra, said the names of the team members will be announced in Switzerland sometime in mid- to late January following a series of additional competitions.
Jones’ mother told the Herald during a Dec. 28 “Meet and Greet” in the lobby of the Extraco Bank in Harker Heights that Kehri has competed in bobsledding events for the past three years.
“The Combine” is one of those competitions held in Dallas each year where those who wish to qualify for the Olympics are required to sprint and jump and accumulate a certain amount of points during the contest to determine who will move on to the next competition in New York, Tametra Jones said.
“She scored the highest points in the Dallas event then moved forward to try out and was selected for the team in New York,” Tametra Jones said.
Kehri Jones continues to travel and compete in Canada, Utah, and in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
“I ran track and field at Ellison High and graduated at age 16 then enrolled in Baylor University,” Jones said. “I hold a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in health and human services performance from Baylor.
“Elena Meyers Taylor, who emailed my track coach, recruited me into bobsled,” Jones said.
Taylor is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in bobsled and has a bye for the 2018 Olympic team. Jamie Greubel Poser, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist, also received a bye.
In October, Jones was announced as one of nine finalists for next month’s Olympics, as USA Bobsled & Skeleton named its women’s bobsled national team for the 2017-18 season.
Brittany Reinbolt earned the third women’s pilot spot after sweeping both national team trials races in Lake Placid, New York,
Along with Kehri Jones, five athletes were named to the national team following national team trials and July’s push championships: Maureen Ajoku, Aja Evans, Lauren Gibbs, Briauna Jones and Lolo Jones.
The six athletes, who own world cup and/or world championship medals, will battle it out for up to three spots on the Olympic team.
Kehri Jones’ world champion experience includes:
2017 USA Women’s Bobsled team for pilot Elana Meyers Taylor
Gold medal at the 2017 World Championships in Koenigssee (Germany), Women’s Bobsled for pilot Katie Eberling
8th Place at the 2016 World Championships in Igls (Austria) Women’s Bobsled competition.
When asked about the possibility of representing the Killeen area at the Winter Olympics, Jones said, “Killeen is my home. I was born at Fort Hood. My dad is a military man and it’s near and dear to my heart. Having all this support from my hometown motivates me and gives me extra drive in my training knowing that people are behind me 100 percent.
“I know a lot of people from my home and family will not be able to make the trip to Korea, so my wish is that someone will sponsor a watch party and give my family the chance to watch it on television. I’ll know they’ll be having their own mini-Olympics here in Killeen and having them watch me during my race would be really cool,” Jones said.
Cyd West of First Community Mortgage, said, “We are working right now on making that happen in a special way!”
A group of about 50 local public figures, including the mayor of Killeen, a city councilman from Harker Heights, a high school principal, Realtors, state and national politicians, bank employees and local residents gathered for the “Meet and Greet” event on Dec. 28.
Jones said, “I love to meet people and the event at Extraco was really exciting. I’m in my element here and I’m glad bobsledding is being introduced in Texas.”
Harker Heights Mayor Pro Tem Hal Schiffman was one of several people greeting and congratulating Jones.
Schiffman told the Herald, “It’s a custom in our community to acknowledge accomplishments by presenting a city service coin. She represents our brand so well she also received a Harker Heights Branding Iron of her very own. Because her achievements are so noteworthy, I also gave her an official city notepad so she can record further achievements. We are proud of her for rising to this level of accomplishment.”
Jones also received a special city of Killeen coin from Mayor Jose L. Segarra.
She received gifts of United States and Texas flags that have flown over the respective capitol buildings provided by current state and national legislative figures.
Ellison High School Principal David Dominguez was in the audience and presented Jones with an official Ellison Eagles blanket.
“I am so thrilled to have one of our graduates honored this way. We know she’s representing the state and the nation but we are extremely proud she is an Ellison Eagle. Many of her coaches remember her and are beaming with pride right now,” Dominguez said.