Muhlenberg County has a history of producing some of the best Cross Country/Track and Field stars in the state. Jonah Mitchell has become no exception. On November 14, Mitchell announced that he would continue his running career at the University of Kentucky. Mitchell made the announcement via Twitter.
“I am very excited to announce that I have committed to the University of Kentucky to continue my academic and athletic career. I would like to thank my family, friends, teammates, and coaches who have made this possible. #gocats”
The highly touted senior signed his letter of intent in front of his friends and family on November 18 in the Muhlenberg County High School library. Much has been written about the UK signee this year. Most of what has been written about him has been about his many accolades and how well he is running or how many races he has won. Mitchell was the 2019 Class 3A 3200-Meter State Champion and was the runner-up in 2018 the 3A Cross Country State Championship. This year, along with holding the fastest record for 5K time at 15:15, Mitchell won the 2019 Region 1 Class 3A championship and finished 15th at the state meet. Mitchell has goals set for the 2020 Track and Field season, one that consists of trying to beat the school record (9:12) in the 2 mile held by Chase Geary. The one side that most of BBN are familiar with consists of his illustrious running career, but there is more to Jonah than being a track star. The decorated senior is humble and respectful and credits his family for his successes. He has a quiet reserve and sincere smile that will charm even the hardest of hearts. But what makes him tick? Who is Jonah Mitchell?
To help me answer those questions, I asked Jonah some atypical interview questions. The questions were “off the wall” and would help me gain insight into his personality and learn more about him.
1. If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why? “A house cat because they kind of sit there and get fed and they get pet all day. That sounds nice, I guess.” At this point, he is wondering what he got himself into.
2. What is your go to snack/comfort food? Why? “It’s more of a drink. It’s chocolate milk. Ever since I was little, I loved it.” I get it. Chocolate milk is the bomb.com, but I couldn’t imagine trying to run after drinking any type of milk.
3. What does your pre-game consist of? (food, music, etc) “The night before I normally eat some sort of pasta and get some carbohydrates in me and then I get a good night’s rest. You know try to sleep 8 hours sometimes if it’s a big meet, you know I don’t sleep very well. I get kind of nervous, but yeah, I just try to sleep well.” He stated that he isn’t very superstitious, but if something works, he will continue with that routine.
4. If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be? “A Pirate Looks at 40 by Jimmy Buffett. I have always liked that song. I don’t know why, but ever since I was little it has just been my song.” Aye Aye, Matey. I am with ya!
5. What do you want to be when you grow up? “A mechanical engineer” I could barely spell that correctly- did I mention he is extremely smart and has a cumulative GPA of 4.06? WHOA! Mitchell is a wonderful role model for other students and younger kids. He is self-disciplined and a leader by example.
6. You’re a color in the crayon box. What color would you be and why? “I don’t know, gray? Just a routine color, a neutral. I am not really find myself being the life of the party or like a bum, so I feel like a neutral person. So, yeah, gray.” I think Jonah sells himself short. His quiet nature may seem like a neutral to him, but to others, he is a yellow ray of sunshine. His positive outlook is contagious.
7. On average, how many times a week do you hurt yourself trying to dance in the shower? “Zero, I sit down in the shower so I won’t hurt myself.” Jonah is tall and lanky and would have a difficult time in a shower meant for us average height people. He smiled and laughed a little when he told him me he sits down in the shower to avoid injury. I have learned by experience that just because you are an athlete that does not automatically make you coordinated.
8. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be? “So, I read a book, no it was a movie, about a guy his name is Dick Proenneke. He built a cabin up in Alaska and lived there for 30 years. He built it all by hand with hand tools that he made while he was there. I thought it was the coolest thing ever because he lived on a lake and could go fish whenever he wanted. I would definitely trade places with him. I don’t think he is alive anymore, I think he’s gone, but the cabin he built was beautiful on this lake. It just looked like a really fun time.” It is not surprising that he would choose a peaceful existence. Mitchell is private person who has a serene disposition that would lend itself well to quiet solitude.
9. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be? “I’d like to have like, this is not common, but like an artificial intelligence in my head, like some kind of cyborg. I would be able to have a computer or a Google that I can access in my brain. That would be awesome.” Better watch it, Jonah; “Big Brother” will steal your idea.
10. Do you believe in Bigfoot? Why? Have you seen one? “You know, I don’t necessarily believe in him, but if I saw him, I wouldn’t be surprised.” I would imagine that running in the forest he could witness all types of curious things. I hope he does see Bigfoot.
11. What is your favorite thing to do with your friends? “Run, yeah. I enjoy my Cross Country teammates. The runs we do are a lot of fun. Most people think running isn’t any type of fun, but when you have your friends out there with you, it can be for sure.” I am most people. I cannot possibly see my friends and I bonding over a 7 mile run, however, I know plenty of people who love to run and find immense fulfillment when they do. Mitchell is a great teammate and very encouraging. He is a natural leader and pushes his teammates, his friends, to go harder, further, and faster.
12. What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from watching you run? “My family is pretty interesting. I have 4 little brothers and they’re awesome. They’re going to play basketball. All my friends know them. Jamal, Sammie, Benjamin, and Daniel. Three of them are triplets. So, that’s really cool, I guess.” As Jonah spoke about his brothers, his face lit up. I found myself with a smile on my face because his smile was so contagious. Jonah is the son of Van and Kristen Mitchell. He has mentioned on numerous occasions how important his family is him and his successes. I have personally witnessed him at his brothers’ basketball games cheering them on from the stands.
13. What misconception about you do people have that you want to set straight? “That all I do is run. Or that I take every run very, very serious. You can use a light run to recover from a hard run you did yesterday. So, every run is not me going out there at just you know sprinting 4, 5, 6, or 7 miles. There are easy runs that I do which sounds like an oxymoron, but easy runs are a thing.” I am not sure that I can agree that any runs could be easy. I am personally like a turtle running in molasses, but for a world class athlete like Mitchell, I can see that he would feel that some runs are easier than others. I find it endearing that he wants people to know that he is not just a runner or that he takes himself serious each time. If you asked many students or staff at MCHS, “Who is Jonah Mitchell?” They would answer, “A runner.”
14. What do you want #BBN to know about you? “I am excited to be there, I guess, yeah. I can’t wait to be there and when I am there I am going to put my heart on the line every time I toe the line for my teammates. Compete for BBN and in the SEC, for sure. I am just excited to compete for UK, for sure.” Mitchell, who was recruited by Temple, Eastern Kentucky, and East Carolina, chose UK over the others because it was closer to home, but also, the history and success of UK’s Track and Field program was too appealing to pass up. He stated, “UK put on a show for me. They have fabulous facilities.” He is pumped about being able to represent the state he loves in a very competitive SEC.
In the upcoming months, Jonah Mitchell will play out his final days as a Muhlenberg County Mustang. He will attend games, go to prom, compete at the highest level during Track and Field season, and he will graduate with honors. He will receive many accolades as his high school career comes to an end, hopefully breaking records and repeating his state win from the previous year. He is not just a runner. He is so much more. He is quiet, reserved, intelligent, humble, and a leader. He is a favorite amongst the teachers of Mustang Nation. To Jonah, I hope you enjoy the rest of your senior year. Do not be afraid to be yourself. Do not be afraid to stand out. I cannot wait to see you in the blue and white. Run, Jonah, run!