It may be a cliché to say Zachary High School sprinter Indya Jackson has made the rounds as she approaches the final meets of her high school career. But it is truth.
The Southeastern Louisiana University signee helps lead the Zachary girls in their quest for another District 4-5A title Wednesday at Walker High.
“This has been a different year for me and the team,” Jackson said. “I’ve had some injuries that I’m working through and my role has changed. Now I’m the senior, and the other girls look to me as a leader and to set an example. I remember when I was in their position.”
Field events start at 3:30 p.m., followed by track events at 5:30 p.m. at WHS. District meets for 5-5A at Catholic High, 6-3A at West Feliciana and 8-2A at Episcopal also are scheduled for Wednesday with similar time schedules. The top three competitors in each event advance to the regional meets next week as the track postseason begins.
Jackson came into the Zachary program in the shadow of two standouts, her older sister Kristian, a throws specialist, and sprinter Janie O’Connor. Kristian Jackson is now a freshman field events specialist at SLU and O’Connor is now competing for Kentucky. Jackson likes her role and her team.
“I like how competitive this team is,” Jackson said. “I have seen the younger girls get better all year. They want to win. I feel more pressure than I have the last three years. We all just have to focus.”
Jackson is best known as a 400 meters runner. Her top times this season is 57 seconds, which is about two seconds off her personal best. Jackson’s top 200 time of 25.2 seconds also is just off her previous best. As valuable as she is in open events, Jackson truly sets the pace for the Broncos on relays.
“It doesn’t matter whether we plug her into the 4x200, 4x100 or 4x400 … she does them all well,” Zachary coach Chris Carrier said. “Indya understands how to run those races and she is competitive. She wants to win.”
Jackson said her personal favorites are the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, but notes that she will take on whatever relays Carrier puts her in. The goal, she says, is simple.
“I want to finish the season with (personal records),” Jackson said. “Advancing each week and winning … those are the most important things now.”
The make-up of the Scotlandville boys track team is different than a year ago. Scotlandville coach Johnny Duncan hopes his team can find a way to win the 4-5A meet at the end.
“Last year it came down to the 4x400 relay, and we expect the same thing again this year,” Duncan said. “I’ve told our other coaches that our work is over — (Wednesday) will be about watching the show with us and Zachary.”
Duncan said Zachary sprinter Sean Burrell has returned from a fall football injury to post some of the nation’s top 400 times. The Hornets will rely on their relays along with distance specialist Lafayette Collins and jumps specialist Reggie King, whose triple jump of 48 feet, 10½ inches earlier this year also ranks nationally.