Floyd Central senior Gwyn Jones is a force on the volleyball court, a hitter who soars above the net to ignite the offense. Jones, whose mother Jill played at the University of Kentucky, has verbally committed to play at Auburn. She powered the Highlanders to the Class 4-A sectional title at Jennings County.
The Courier-Journal: Floyd Central just won its third straight sectional title. Does that feeling ever get old?
Gwyn Jones: It still feels the same as the first time we won it. It’s pure exhilaration, knowing all our hard work hasn’t gone to waste, knowing what all the hours have led to. That feeling is inexplicable.
C-J: What do you love about the game?
Jones: I’ve been playing since I can remember. It’s just a great way to let out my frustrations. Whatever I’m going through, whatever my friends are going through, as soon as you get on the court it’s all dropped.
C-J: How can the daughter of a former University of Kentucky player go to Auburn?
Jones: My mom just wanted me to be happy. Once she saw Auburn, I think her exact words were ‘Gwyn, you’d be an idiot if you decided not to go here.’
C-J: What attracted you to Auburn?
Jones: The coach (Rick Nold) has ties to our club, so I know when I’m down there I’ll be playing with girls from my club. He’s from Louisville, so I will have that hometown connection. And the facilities are second to none. All the girls are so nice, so I will feel at home and happy there.
C-J: At 6-foot-3, your height gives you a lot of advantages on the court. Is that something you have become comfortable with?
Jones: If I didn’t play a sport, it would be hard to be this tall. When I go places, people are like ‘Oh, look how tall she is.’ But then they ask if I play a sport, and if I’m going to college, and then it all makes sense. I have pride in that.
C-J: Did you feel pressure to play?
Jones: My dad played football at EKU. When I was little, I played tackle football with the boys and anything I wanted to do, my parents were constantly telling me if volleyball didn’t make me happy, don’t play it. But I love everything about it.
C-J: What does it feel like to hammer down a kill?
Jones: It’s awesome. But the ball I hit wasn’t just me. It was my teammates, the girl who passed the ball and the work she put in, it’s the setter delivering that perfect set. Knowing that all those connected, it’s such a feeling of togetherness. Wow, we all just accomplished something.
C-J: You play with a lot of emotion. Is that an essential part of volleyball?
Jones: We’ve talked all year about energy. It brings up your level of play without even noticing. As soon as the gym gets loud, you’ll notice the level of play goes up. So when we get a good kill, we’re going to start screaming, and our game takes off.
C-J: What do you enjoy away from volleyball?
Jones: I live on a farm. We have goats, cows and pigs. I really like having my wide-open spaces.
C-J: What has pointed you toward a career in marketing?
Jones: I’m a people person. My friends are always telling me I come up with such good captions, that I should market things. One day, it was like ‘Hmm, maybe I could do that.’ So when I started looking it up, it looked like it could be a career for me.
C-J: What have you learned from playing high school sports?
Jones: You have to work for everything. No one is going to give you anything in life. You have to be competitive and willing to work for your dreams. Out there on the court, no team is going to lie down. We have to fight for what we want. That applies to everything in life.
C-J: Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Jones: My mom has definitely been a big influence on me. She got me started. When I reached an age to decide if this was something I wanted to do, that’s when my club coach Scott Bostock really got me hooked. He supported me in every one of my decisions. He passed away a couple of years ago, and he’s my guardian angel. He was such a huge influence on my life, and I can’t thank him enough.
GWYN JONES UP CLOSE
School: Floyd Central
Family: parents Paul and Jill; brother Garrett (19)
Student/athlete: Gwyn has verbally committed to Auburn University and will sign to play volleyball on Nov. 11. She plans to major in marketing.