TOP CAT: Jackson finds success at Eastern

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TOP CAT: Jackson finds success at Eastern

Senior Amina Jackson broke the record for the 400-meter hurdle with a time of 1:02.32 during the John Craft Invitational Saturday in Lantz Fieldhouse.

Senior Amina Jackson broke the record for the 400-meter hurdle with a time of 1:02.32 during the John Craft Invitational Saturday in Lantz Fieldhouse.

Mackenzie Freund

Senior Amina Jackson broke the record for the 400-meter hurdle with a time of 1:02.32 during the John Craft Invitational Saturday in Lantz Fieldhouse.

Mackenzie Freund

Mackenzie Freund

Senior Amina Jackson broke the record for the 400-meter hurdle with a time of 1:02.32 during the John Craft Invitational Saturday in Lantz Fieldhouse.

Mark Shanahan, Sports Reporter

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Senior Amina Jackson set a new school record in the women’s 400-meter hurdles last weekend at the EIU John Craft invite with a time of 1:02.32.

Jackson participates in the 400-meter, 600-meter, the distance medley relay, the 4×400-meter relay and sometimes the 800-meter run. She transferred to Eastern from North Central College in 2014.

The decision to come to Eastern was influenced by her mother who attended and ran track here for two years.

“I choose to transfer to Eastern for money reasons just because North Central is really expensive, and also track wise, I didn’t feel like I was getting what I wanted out of track at North Central and then coming here, I felt like I could run at my full potential here,” she said.

The transition proved to be tough at the beginning because Eastern’s practices were more challenging than the ones she was used to at North Central, she said.

“I remember preseason, we had run like ten 200s the first day, and I called my mom and was like ‘oh my gosh mom we just ran ten 200s the first day of practice.’ She was like ‘It couldn’t have been that bad’ and I was like ‘you were not here,’” she said. “How in the world could you say that?”

Despite the tough practices, making friends with teammates was not a problem for Jackson.

“Other than that the team was very nice,” she said. “They were very welcoming. I kind of fit in with the other freshmen even though I wasn’t a freshman, but it was kind of like all the new people were all together. I made friends quickly so the transition wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.”

In her first indoor season at Eastern, she earned first team All-OVC on the distance medley relay team that won with a time of 12:03.22. She ran the 400-meter hurdles that outdoor season and earned second team All-OVC honors in the event with a time of 1:01.69 at the OVC outdoor championships. That time ranked second in the school record books.

Last indoor season, she ran on the school-record setting distance medley relay team where they posted a time of 11:50.24 seconds at the Notre Dame Meyo invitational. In the outdoor season, she set the school record in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:00.73 seconds at the Indiana Billy Hayes invite.

Setting that record has been her favorite memory up to this point, as she did not know what she had done until her teammates and coaches greeted her.

“I didn’t feel good that meet so I was kind of like running with dead energy really, and then my coach runs up to me and was like ‘oh my god!’ she said. “I’m like ‘I don’t know what’s happening, what are you talking about?’ he’s like, ‘you broke the record!’”

The personal goals Jackson sets for herself are to beat her times at meets from the previous year.

“Each season I kind of try to go by meets and see what I ran last year at this meet and try to do better each meet,” she said. “Last year I think I ran like a one minute at the very first meet so I was thinking I at least want to run at 59 (seconds).”

She started her track career back in junior high when she ultimately chose the sport over volleyball.

“I started track in sixth grade at my junior high in Lincoln,” she said. “Ever since then I’ve been doing it, I didn’t really start getting into my main event which is hurdles until my junior year of high school and I kind of fell in love with them ever since then.”

Since she is in her last season, Jackson is thinking about her future after college. She is majoring in early childhood education and her dream is to teach third grade, but she also loves pre-school.

Jackson will compete during the Indiana Relays this weekend.

Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]