With a senior season that saw him become the third four-time National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) All-American in school history and end with academic honors through College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), Ian Jones will definitely go down as one of the all-time bests to wear an Apprentice School Wrestling singlet.
Jones added another highlight to a stellar career by being named the 2014-15 Apprentice School Athlete of the Year by the Peninsula Sports Club. He becomes the fourth wrestler since 2000 to be named Apprentice School Athlete of the Year joining Darrick Walker (2000), Cecil Lee (2007) and Marcus Chevres (2012) to win the award. Jones will be presented his award at the Peninsula Sports Club Headliners Night on June 29.
His head coach for four years, Bruce Shumaker, is already lamenting the loss of his senior. "Ian Jones will be very hard to replace. Our wrestling team always liked our chances when Ian went on the mat for his bout," said Shumaker. "I'll take about 15 more wrestlers like him. Smart, dedicated and team oriented from the first day. We already miss him."
A native of Painesville, Ohio, Jones finished his career in March by coming in fourth place at the NCWA Nationals in Allen, Texas. With his finish, he joined Lee and Chevres as the only four-time NCWA All-Americans in school history. He ended his senior campaign with a 41-9 record with 20 of those wins by fall. In his final season he had winning streaks of 12, 11 and nine while also becoming a four-time Virginia Sports Information Directors Association (VaSID) All-State selection making him the first four-time honoree for the Builders.
For his career, he set a school record with 156 wins and ended second in wins by fall with 68. He was consistent throughout his four years with win totals of 32, 41, 42 and 41.
Having an older brother who was finishing up his apprenticeship gave Jones an early look at the school and what was expected of an apprentice, who in this case also wanted to continue his wrestling career. "With my older brother (Ramon) attending the school three years prior to me, I had heard a lot of things about the shipyard," he said. "Simply enough the idea that I would be able to do something that I love (wrestling), have a job and get my education in one spot made my choice of schools easy."
Facing the fact of coming to a unique school where you would be up early and work along with going to school and then get on the mat, Jones relied on his wrestling background to get through when times were tight. "Wrestling was the biggest help when it came to the transition into college and the work life. Wrestling kept me motivated not only on the mat but on the job eager to learn and be the best at what I was doing," Jones said. "Waking up every morning at 5am to go to work can be a struggle, but knowing what I had to look forward to at the end of the journey to be able to participate in something that I absolutely loved made it all worth it."
His supervisor in the Heavy Metal Fabrication department, Justin Fisher, spoke highly of the work ethic and commitment to safety Jones displays on the job. "Ian helped out in our safety section here and did a tremendous job working under Scott Dye. He definitely set the bar really high on this rotation," he said. "Ian led the roll out of "Built to Move" here in our shop by working with Tidewater Physical Therapy as he helped establish the administrative controls around the presses in X15. He was highly praised by SFA Director Barry Fallon on his follow up daily to get these controls in place. Safety was something Ian took seriously as an apprentice and now as a graduate. He continues to do well in all areas and strives to be the best."