Fort Mill runner Dalton Jones is heading to the Naval Academy on an academic scholarship, but is also looking to run both cross-country and track.

FORT MILL – Fort Mill High graduate Dalton Jones is running towards a higher calling.

                The cross-country and track athlete will be heading to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD on academic scholarships, but running is a passion of his he will be carrying there as well.

                Jones, 18, looks to run both cross-country and track at the Naval Academy, but said his real focus is his education.

                “I mostly focused on getting to the best school I could academically,” he said. “I wanted something that would challenge me. Fitness was a requirement for them anyway.”

                Jones chose the Naval Academy over Charleston Southern University, College of Charleston, Queens University and Francis Marion University.

                As a requirement, Jones will be serving five-years active duty with the military once he graduates. Serving his country is something he said he has always considered. He plans on majoring in robotic engineering at this point. He has a 4.0 GPA and already has potentially 35 college credits under his belt. Jones said he is looking at bonding with the other Midshipman at the school.

                “I really want to grow in my leadership abilities and serve afterwards,” he said.

                For Jones, running is something he has been active in competitively since eighth grade.

                “I have loved it ever since,” he said.

                Jones said he preferred track to cross-country because distance running was harder for him. In track, he runs the 800-meters and 1,600-meters, along with a leg on the 4×800. He was part of the 2019 4×800 meter relay team that won a state championship at the 5A state track championship.

                “Shorter distances were easier for me,” he said. “Cross country was harder for me because I never ran that many miles.”

                Jones applied for the Naval Academy based on his academics, but said he plans on running there as well and trying out for both sports.

                “If you make one, you make it for both,” he said. “I plan on doing both.”

                Jones said he is going to miss Fort Mill especially his teammates and coaches.

                “They have really been there for me last four years,” he said.

Mac Banks:, @MacBanks