He’s never leaped a tall building in a single bound, but Harvey Mudd College alumnus Eric Jones ’97 still holds the high jump record he set 18 years ago. For this and other athletic achievements, Jones has been inducted into the Claremont/Mudd/Scripps (CMS) Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame.
“He jumped seven feet at the national championships in 1995. There are basketball players who can dunk at 10-foot-high baskets, but Eric got his entire body over that seven-foot bar with one jump,” said Coach John Goldhammer. “To do that, the amount of force you’d have to apply in such a minimal amount of time would blow most people’s minds unless, of course, they were a Harvey Mudd student.”
Each year the Hall of Fame committee honors alumni or coaching staff members who make outstanding contributions to one or more CMS athletic department sports. Jones accepted his award Nov. 16 at the 23rd Annual Hall of Fame Recognition Banquet.
Jones served as a key member of four Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) men’s track and field championship teams. Competing in the high jump and triple jump, he became a four-time All-American and three-time SCIAC champion. An established high jumper in high school, Jones learned how to triple jump his sophomore year at Harvey Mudd. He won SCIAC titles in the event in 1994 and 1997, in addition to his 1993 SCIAC high jump title.
In 1994, he scored the fifth-highest number of points (59) in a SCIAC championship competition by any CMS track and field athlete. That same year, he was chosen as
Harvey Mudd College’s Athlete of the Year. Jones’ 1995 high jump record (seven feet) and 1997 triple jump record (48 feet, 7 ¼ inches) remain unbroken.
“In high school, I lettered in three sports—basketball, track and computer science. I was pretty decent in basketball and track, but I was the captain of the computer science team. That’s where I really excelled,” said Jones, now co-founder and president of ViArch Integrated Solutions, a company he cofounded with his wife, Angela, that develops custom software applications for the aerospace industry. “When I came to Harvey Mudd, I didn’t think very much about competing in sports. I just thought I’d check out the gym, check out the track and see what happens.”
His four years with the CMS track and field team not only shaped him into an award-winning athlete, but also taught him about commitment, perseverance and sacrifice.
“When I was a freshman, there was a senior who was a very good high jumper and who held the high jump record. Then, he blew out his knee,” Jones said. “He never got close to what he did before, but he was out there every day training and teaching me what it takes to be a good jumper. He showed me what he did, knowing that I was eventually going to break his record. He’s one of the people who inspired me to be who I am.”
Past Harvey Mudd Hall of Fame inductees include Donald Brosseau ’70, A.J. Shaka ’80 and Hank Krieger (honorary alumnus and coach) for tennis; Brad Aagaard ’94, Jim Dewar ’66 and Mike Scott ’89 for track and field and cross country; Steve Endemano ’71 for football and track and field; Craig Van Degrift ’66 for track and field; Stephen Goodson ’90 for soccer; John Halas ’73, Tom Jedrzejewicz ’87 and Tim McNaughton ’87 for water polo; Patrick Hagiwara ’68 for basketball; and, Sam Delich ’92 for football.