"This is going to open a lot of doors for him to do a lot of things in the next year," Yeast said.
Jones is getting a chance to soak up a little adulation from the community. He didn't get home until about midnight Monday night, but several of his teammates and friends were waiting with a small party. And by the next day, a congraulatory banner was hanging over Lexington Street near Old Fort Harrod State Park.
Yeast said it was nice to see the community showing its support.
"This doesn't happen very often," he said. "It's a neat thing."
Jones won state championships in both the triple jump and the long jump a week earlier, but he said succeeding in this meet, the longest-running national postseason meet in the nation, was an eye-opener.
"It told me that I'm able to compete on a national level with people who can jump the same as me," he said.
It also sent the same message to college coaches. A number of them attended the meet, which was held the day after the NCAA championships concluded in Sacramento.
"I think it'll get my name out there," Jones said.
Got to attend NCAA meet
The GWI is held in Sacramento each year, but its close proximity to the NCAA meet this year allowed Jones to attend that meet for all four days.
"That was part of the plan, trying to give him an opportunity to see what it's going to be like, what he's going to have to do if he's going to get to that level," Yeast said.
Jones said he was amazed by LSU senior Xavier Carter, who became the first man since Jesse Owens in 1936 to win four NCAA championships when he won the 100- and 400-meter runs and anchored winning teams in the 400 and 1,600 relays.
He also was thrilled by the chance to visit with Arkansas jumper Nkosinza Balumbu, a freshman who had a triple jump of 52-4 last year in high school and jumped 51-5 at the GWI. Balumbu was injured and unable to compete, but he was able to give Jones a few tips.
Jones found a track close to his hotel where he was able to get in daily practices for his own meet.
"I just worked on run-throughs and trying to hit the (takeoff) board," he said.
Jones was seeded third in his event. Cool, windy conditions kept virtually every jumper below his seed mark, with temperatures in the mid-50s and a headwind when the competition began at almost 8 p.m.
"It was the coldest meet I've been in all year," he said.
Jones' best jump was 47 feet, 2 1/2 inches. That was 15 1/2 inches short of his best effort at the state high school meet eight days earlier, where he broke the Class A state record, but still 2 1/2 inches better than the second-place jumper in Sacramento.
"It was absolutely amazing to see him go out there and actually win," Yeast said. "The cautious part of me as a coach didn't think it would happen."
Next four were all seniors
The next four boys below Jones, all of whom cleared 45 feet, were all seniors. Jones has another year of high school to go, and he plans to make the most of it.
His championship gets him an automatic invitation to next year's GWI, and Yeast said he has his eye on some other invitation-only meets as well.
Jones said his first goal is to jump 50 feet, and if he makes that mark he'd like to take aim at the national high school record of 52-10 1/2, a mark that has stood for 26 years.
He'll try to continue practicing this summer, but first he wants to heal a torn quadricep muscle in his left leg that was diagnosed only days before the state meet.
"Hopefully I can try and get in some AAU meets," he said.