Wiscasset teen’s Olympic dream progresses

Posted:  Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 10:15am

Aleeya Jones returned home to Wiscasset July 24 after achieving her highest level of training and competition to date. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida trip continued her work toward the same goal the Suki Lane teen has always had — to make the Olympic volleyball team.

Of the 66 14- and 15-year-olds who qualified throughout the U.S. in the A1 Team USA High Performance girls select event, Jones, 14, was the only New Englander, her mother Julie Jones said. She, Aleeya’s father Chad Jones and Aleeya’s siblings Madison, 12, and Dylan, 16, also went on the trip, but, as with other events the teen has attended in the Olympic pipeline, the athletes had little time with family.

Aleeya’s group ended up getting to play one level higher, with the 17- and 18-year-olds, Julie Jones said. “She did great. She showed everyone that this little Maine girl could do it.”

Aleeya said it was intimidating when she saw how good the other girls were. To say it wasn’t, would be lying, she said. But she proved she belonged there, she said. She had practices from July 12 through July 17, then the High Performance Championship from July 18 to July 23, her mother said. Aleeya’s team won five of its eight, five-set matches and won gold in the event’s silver division, Julie Jones said.

Since the Wiscasset Newspaper first interviewed Aleeya at age 10, she has grown from 4 and a half feet tall to 5 foot 7 and begun eying an early childhood education major when she goes to college. She will be a sophomore at Wiscasset Christian Academy this fall.

She still has the Olympic dream and is getting closer to it, she and her mother said. And the teen, who has a history of fundraising for charities, wants her achievements in volleyball to inspire other girls to pursue their goals. “I want young girls and older girls to never give up and to keep pushing for their dreams,” she said.

In 2018, the teen wants to raise $300 to $400 to pay for a girl’s entry into a camp for whichever sport the girl is interested in. Julie Jones said more will be announced on a Facebook page she and Aleeya are making, called “Aleeya’s Evolution.”