State Track: School record eludes Jackson
ST. PAUL - Taking part in two races at state, Red Wing junior Darrick Jackson had one specific goal in mind: break a school record.
In the 400-meter dash at the Class 2A track and field state championship, Jackson's first shot at a record on the Hamline University track proved to be elusive.
Running in the first heat of the 400 qualifiers, Jackson ran a time of 51.09 seconds, missing his chance to qualify for today's final and missing the Red Wing school record in the 400 by .25 seconds.
"Coming out here, my major goal was breaking that (400) record," Jackson said. "Everyone said this track was fast, and the competition here was amazingly fast. It was nice to be challenged like that."
He missed his chance on Friday, but now, Jackson's focus shifts to today's 4x800 relay, where he will run as the relay anchor.
"I want it," Jackson said of the 4x800 record, which sits at 8:06.55. "I want to break the record, place here at state and leave with a medal. I'm hoping it comes together tomorrow."
Running in the outside lane in the 400, Jackson got off to a fast start, a change of pace from his section run where he fell in fourth place through the first 200 meters.
"He got a very strong start," said Wingers' boys track coach Adam Nelson. "And really, he ran a great race; he ran his second-best time of the year and got close to his PR (personal record)."
But as Jackson came around the final turn, the rest of the field finished strong, leaving the Red Wing junior in the dust.
"Coming in and being on the outside, I knew that would kind of happen. But even when it did, it caught me off-guard," Jackson said. "I felt good through the first 200, then going around that corner, I kind of fell apart."
Winning the first heat was Champlin Park's Emmaneul Egbujor, who will go into today's 400 final as the top seed.
Though he failed to qualify, Nelson was quick to point out the positives of Jackson's race.
"He looked better here than he did in sections," Nelson said. "That's the thing about this meet: you think you're not running well, but you are. He ran really well.
"We expect him to break the record, and this helps build him for next year. It's good experience for him."
Now, along with Aiden Winn, Joppa Olone and Tanner Alms, the goal is to leave as one of the best 4x800 relays in the state. And after coming up short Friday, the Wingers get an extra motivated Jackson to close out the race. The 4x800 is set to begin at 9:25 a.m.
"It's kind of a good problem to have," Nelson said. "It's good that Darrick's motivated and competing again."