The first time Jacque Ines got hit in the face with a boxing glove, she wasn’t sure what she had gotten herself into.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m getting hit,’ ” Ines recalled. “I was really scared. I don’t remember much of it. My adrenaline was pretty high.”
Fast-forward two years, and the 2013 Kennewick High School graduate is landing more punches than she’s absorbing.
Ines, who competes for the University of Washington Boxing Club, will go after her second national title this weekend at the National Collegiate Boxing Association championship tournament.
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“She is a superstar,” UW coach Christopher Mendez said. “She’s won a Golden Gloves title and a national title. She’s one of our team captains.”
Ines will compete at 125 pounds at nationals, which will be held today through Saturday at UW’s Alaska Airlines Arena. Boxers from more than 20 schools are scheduled to compete, including 14 from UW.
Ines won a national title as a freshman and was second last year. She is the No. 1 seed this weekend. The UW women’s team has won the past two national titles.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Ines said.
While Ines competed in swimming, basketball and track at Kennewick High, boxing was a new challenge at UW.
“It was more about being competitive because I did sports in high school,” Ines said. “We have great coaches, and I have good teammates. That drew me to it and has kept me in it.”
Ines practices about three days a week, and boxing has been a way to relax.
“I look forward to it,” said Ines, who continues her workouts over the summer at Contenders in Kennewick. “We practice late, and it is the end of my day. I feel lost without it. It wears me out. I don’t think my day would be complete without working out.”
Though boxing has become a big part of her life, Ines almost gave it up last year.
“When I was a freshman, I loved it,” she said. “Last year, I had to choose a major, and that was stressful. I didn’t get into my program (Informatics) and had to switch majors (to geography). I was at a low point when I didn’t get in.”
But UW’s boxing program is more than jabs and upper cuts. It is a family, she said. There are life lessons to be learned and people who are in your corner — even out of the ring.
“This program is different,” Ines said. “School comes first. You have to maintain your grades (must have a 3.0 GPA to compete), and there is an accountability to make sure the people on the team are OK. I had people checking on me, and that kept me in.”