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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student


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Derrick Jackson breaks his own Knox record


Junior Derrick Jackson running at the Knox Van Steckelberg Invite.(Robert Nguyen / TKS)

Junior Derrick Jackson running at the Knox Van Steckelberg Invite.(Robert Nguyen / TKS)

During the spring of 2019, then-freshman Derrick Jackson said that his goal was to “break records all four years.”  

Last month, the junior from Miami Gardens, Florida broke his own record in the 100m with a 10.67 time. Jackson was named the Midwest Conference Performer of the Week due to his accomplishments in track, but it didn’t come as a shock to Jackson. 

Derrick, or D-Jack as he’s called by his friends, has a confident bravado about him. He knows the work that he puts in day in and day out. It’s at this point that Jackson is competing against himself. The Moneybagg Yo song titled “Me vs Me” comes to mind when I think about how Jackson broke his own record. 

“I’m not gonna lie to you; It’s pretty fun. I try to compete with myself every week. I mean, I’ll be honest. It’s not really too much competition right now until Nationals, but competing with myself, it shows that I’m actually getting better as an athlete. That’s the hardest thing to do is to beat yourself. People don’t realize that,” Jackson said. 

Head Track and Field coach, Evander Wells, has also had a huge impact on Jackson’s success. Wells uses motivational trash talking to keep the already competitive Jackson hungry. It also helps when the coach trash talking you is a former Division I student athlete. The two even faced off in a race towards the end of last season after Nationals were canceled.

“We came back to campus and just had a quick runoff just to see what he can run and ran a pretty impressive time,” Wells said. 

“I don’t know if I’m going to give him a rematch now that I got my one. When we raced, I was able to beat him. I don’t need to give him a rematch, but he keeps proving that he is running well. Now he’s in much better shape and he’s faster.”

Jackson used that race as a measuring stick for himself. 

“I love him. As I said, he’s a great athlete. From the University of Tennessee, ran in the Olympics, and for me to run somebody like that, that’s crazy. And like I said, once we break down to get the mechanics down pat, I know for a fact I can qualify in July,” Jackson said. 

Jackson has a laid back demeanor when it comes to races. He doesn’t get too high or too low. He talks with his teammates and stays as loose as possible. 

“When I’m running, I like to have fun. Sometimes I may talk to other teammates and just, you know, tell them to execute, but I don’t worry too much about the races. As long as I execute my race and the technique, I know I’ve got it in the bag,” Jackson said. 

With the conference approaching, Jackson is preparing for the races, but he has his eyes set on a bigger stage, Nationals. Besides the opportunity to compete against some of the best runners, he is most excited about another wrinkle at Nationals.

“First off, I’m ready for the travel. My family gets to be there because I have an auntie that stays in North Carolina, but as I said, you always got to love the experience. You get to race against the top of the top athletes in the nation. I love it,” Jackson said. 

To get to this point has been a journey for Jackson. The pandemic wiped out Nationals in Boston last year and injuries hampered Jackson during his freshman year. Taking care of his body to prevent injuries became a major emphasis for Jackson. From going to the weight room to his water intake, Jackson has been meticulous about staying healthy for the opportunity to compete at Nationals. 

According to lurongliving.com, “When dehydration occurs, a loss of coordination and muscle fatigue can develop, both of which can lead to injuries.”

“We had to up the water by at least by like 10% you feel me? Like I was drinking maybe like 12 to 13 bottles a day, but I changed it. I’m a huge Fiji person because the pH level was better for my body. I’ll go through at least three bottles of Fiji water. But at the same time I’ll drink other bottles of water as well, but Fiji is right there with the pH level so high, it keeps my muscles and my body hydrated,” Jackson said.

Aside from staying hydrated, Jackson has also been attentive to make sure he visits the training room on a consistent basis. The training staff has helped Jackson manage his bothersome hamstring.

“Shout out to all the training staff….When indoor finished, I was like, I’m going to come in every day. And without them, I would not be here right now. That’s the worst injury I’ve ever had,” Jackson says.

However, all of that doesn’t matter without the proper running technique. That’s where Evander Wells comes in. Wells has focused on running in front and using muscles correctly.

“When we lift or push down, we use our big muscles, our quads…We have quads and glutes. If we use those, we normally get in pretty good shape to stay healthy,” Wells said.

Everything Jackson has done has been in preparation for the Olympic trials.  A self described overachiever, It was deflating for Jackson to deal with nagging injuries and ultimately have Nationals taken away from him due to the pandemic.

“To come back down in time… it’s hard, and being an athlete to see all your dreams maybe fade away, but you can’t give up. That’s what makes your story different from everybody else, because I had to face adversity and get through it. I love the way my story’s going right now because I’ll show them that I’m getting better, not only as a track athlete, but as a person,” Jackson said.

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