Former Indio High School track star Jonte “Jay” Turner plans to sign a full track-and-field scholarship with UCLA today.
Turner, who has been attending Riverside Community College for the last three semesters, will run the 400-meter hurdles, 110-meter hurdles and 1,600-meter relay for the Bruins in the fall.
He said he also considered Washington State and Florida.
“I picked UCLA because it was either Washington State or UCLA, and UCLA is one, closer to home and second, I feel like I’d be happier being a Bruin than anywhere else,” Turner, 19, said.
Turner set two records while at Indio, running the 110-meter hurdles in 14.4 seconds and the 400-meter hurdles in 51.4 seconds.
The 110-meter-hurdle record still stands.
“I thought he had the talents for Division I, it just took a little time,” said George Thomas, Turner’s former track coach at Indio High School. “He had to work on some maturity things, which he got at RCC, which was good for him. He was a pretty dedicated kid academically and athletically.”
Turner was considering Fresno State and College of the Desert out of high school, but decided on Riverside Community College to maximize his opportunities.
“Fresno was going to offer me a partial (scholarship), so I decided to go to RCC and go to a better school afterward, and the track program is really good and the academics are really good at RCC,” Turner said.
While at Riverside Community College, Turner was an All-American in the 300-meter hurdles and the 110-meter hurdles.
He improved his time in the 110 meters to 14.1 seconds and ran the 300-meter hurdles in 38.2 seconds.
When he heads off to Westwood in the fall, the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder will study sociology and meet up with an old adversary and friend.
“I love living in California and I love the school a lot and the track program is really good,” Turner said, “and I have a couple of friends that go there — Tyler Brown from La Quinta (High School) is one.”