MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Shaliciah Jones is one of the Minnesota’s top young talents in track and field.

In events with little margin for error, the sprinter from North St. Paul seems to have perfected the right approach.

“For 100, for me it’s all about the start. You don’t get a good start, you’re race isn’t the greatest, so that’s a small thing I’m trying to tweak,” Jones said. “Two-hundred, you’ve got to just run a great curve.”

As Jones prepares to run a race, the first and most important thing she says isn’t even physical — it’s mental.

“With me, it’s a mindset thing. In the 100, I feel like I got to go I got to go, so I oftentimes forget things I shouldn’t forget. In the 200, it’s like you have a chance to change the way the race goes in the 200 versus the 100, you get a bad block start … there’s not a very good chance you’ll catch back up. Two-hundred, you get out the blocks bad, if you can like take the curve pretty well, you’re still in the race.”

Shaliciah Jones (credit: CBS)

How she even got started in a sport she’s now leading is a family matter.

“My aunts ran, and my mom ran, and my grandpa’s like, super, like, he’s a track fanatic pretty much. So like I kind of got into it because of him,” Jones said.

So thank you grandpa, because Jones is now one of the top sprinters in the state. She won the state championship last year in the 100 meters, and also took second in the 200 meters – and also helped North St. Paul win the 4-by-100 meter relay state title. She did all this as only a sophomore.

“Around like 13 or 14 is when it like clicked in my head that this is like something I’m good at, something that can like take me further. So that’s what kind of pushes me to do good in the sport,” she said.

Now as a junior, Jones is thinking even bigger. Winning two state titles and placing second in another has only made her hungrier.

“It definitely pushes me to train harder, my goals. Because I have such high expectations for myself, that it kind of pushes me to train harder,” she said. “I’ve been lifting, trying to get my conditioning together, endurance up and everything. Just tweaking small things, block starts and everything.”

Because in races as short as she runs, the smallest things can make the biggest difference.