LOUISVILLE – The long jump hasn’t been thought of as Aaron Jackson’s specialty.
It will be now.
The Frankfort High junior jumped 21 feet, 7.5 inches to capture the event Thursday at the KHSAA Class 1A State Track and Field Championships at the University of Louisville’s Owsley Frazier Cardinal Park.
Jackson has competed in the event sporadically this season, mainly early in the year and again at the region.
“I just wanted to place,” he said. “I didn’t think I could win, but I wanted to place.
“I thought I had a chance to win, but I knew there were people who have been doing this event more than I have. They know more what to do technique-wise, and I was just jumping out of athleticism until the end.”
Jackson’s winning jump easily outdistanced runner-up Justin Hubbard of Bardstown who went 21 feet, 4.75 inches.
At the regional meet Jackson jumped 19-6 and found himself in the first of two flights at the state meet.
“I felt great,” he said. “Once I made the final I came back and my first jump wasn’t that great. My second jump was better, and my third jump I just decided to go out and go for it.”
That last jump turned out to be the winning jump, and it was the highlight of a strong day by the FHS track team.
“I’m very happy,” FHS coach Ed Fields said. “Just about everyone PR’d. Shanae (Brown) PR’d in the 200, Aaron PR’d in the 400 and long jump, the 4x200 relay dropped about two seconds, and the 4x100 relay cut time.
“It’s always a joy to see them come to state, to see that hard work pays off and they’re doing better.”
Brown ran in two individual events and on two relays, cutting time in every event.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” Brown said of the state meet. “The times Coach gave us for other people were pretty fast when you saw them on paper, but when you ran against them they weren’t that fast.”
It may have been that Brown was just a little faster.
She placed fifth in the 100-meter dash in a time of 12.78 seconds after winning the region last week in 13.22.
The girls 4x200-meter relay of Shanae Brown, Shauntae Brown, Amber Wilcoxson and Jasmine Washington placed fifth in a time of 1 minute, 50.54 seconds, just over two seconds faster than they ran to win the region.
In the 200-meter dash Shanae Brown was eighth in 26.68, a little more than a half-second better than her regional time.
“I always want to break my times from last year,” Brown said, “and I achieved that goal.”
The girls 4x100-meter relay team of Shanae Brown, Shauntae Brown, Shantiqa Shaw and Washington finished seventh in 52.12 seconds, an improvement of .8 of a second.
Cailyn Jouett competed in the shot put and finished fifth, three spots better than last year. She won the region last week with a toss of 37 feet, 7.5 inches. On Thursday her best throw was 34 feet, 7.75 inches.
“I think I wanted it so bad it made my momentum throw me off,” she said. “I scratched like four times.”
Jouett scratched on her first two throws of the first round, but her third throw went for 34-7.75 and got her in the final.
“They all told me to go up and throw, make it to the finals,” she said.
That’s what she did. She scratched one more time, and her throw in the first round turned out to be her best of the day.
Besides the long jump, Jackson competed in two other events Thursday. He was seventh in the 400-meter dash in 52.14 seconds. He placed seventh in the same event last year at state. In the 100-meter dash he was 10th in 11.49 seconds.
This year was the first time Jackson had competed in the long jump at state.
“(Assistant coach) Chris Scott helped me out a little bit,” Jackson said about his state long jump performance.
In other events for FHS, Shaw placed 17th in the 300-meter hurdles in 51.78 seconds, and Jouett was 23rd in the discus with a throw of 71 feet.
The Lady Panthers placed 15th out of 37 teams with 15 points. Jackson, the only male competitor for FHS Thursday, earned 12 points, good for a 17th place finish among 43 teams. None of the Frankfort athletes competing at state Thursday are seniors.
“For some this is their second state meet, for some it’s their first,” Fields said. “They move up. Cailyn was eighth last year and fifth this year. That’s how things roll sometimes in meets like this. You have to be patient.
“It’s wonderful to see them do well with the numbers we have, and I’m praying the all come back next year.”