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The Antelope

The Antelope

Lopers to watch with Justin James

Lopers to watch with Justin James

By Justin James

Montrez Jackson is a 5-foot-8-inch freshman who has not only been a pleasant surprise for the Loper track team this winter season, but also looks to be a key contributor in the spring and fall for the Lopers’ football team.

Sincejoining the Lopers in the summer of 2017, Jackson has not only left his mark for what he came here for initially (football), but he has excelled on the track with the high jump, especially with his size at 5-feet-8-inches. In his freshman year, Jackson looks to be the future two-sport star at UNK.

Jackson graduated from Trenton High School in Trenton, Florida. He was a Class 1A qualifier in the high jump. Jackson placed sixth, with his top season effort at 6-3.50. He also ran the 100 (11.46) and 200 (23.53) at the District Championship for his track team.

As a member of the football team, Jackson was a two-time Class 1A All-State. Throughout his four years, he was a four-time, all-area selection in the state of Florida. He rushed for over 3,000 yards in his career, tallying up a career total of 59 touchdowns. He also ended his career with eight straight 100-yard games, one of which had a career-best of 249 total yards. He was a part of a 2015 state championship team.

His showcase of dynamic skill and talent landed him an opportunity to do something most student athletes couldn’t even dream of doing: being a dual sport college athlete and excelling at both.

I had the chance of interviewing the very busy Jackson, and we discussed the mindset of a jumper, Jackson describing it as “having a clear mind. A lot of people can’t think and run at the same time, so it’s easier to have a clear mind,” he said.

Jackson also discusses coming from Florida and what to look for in the coming seasons of track and football in audio clip.

Jackson is currently ranked fourth in the conference and 24th in the nation. And with all that being said, Jackson wasn’t even recruited to jump in college.

That’s impressive, especially for a man with his stature and no real coaching.

Jackson credits his Loper coaching staff for being able to prepare and elevate his game to the next level. “From football to track, they’re all supportive of the athletes,” Jackson said.

This spring season will be a busy one for Jackson, juggling football, track and most importantly, school. But Jackson feels like the coaching staff from football and track has prepared him for his off-the-field life as a student.

Jackson is definitely a “Loper to watch.” This freshman has a lot of momentum and hype coming from behind the scenes, and he looks to take the MIAA by storm with a full season of experience under his belt.

As the Lopers look to move into the outdoor season, Jackson looks to build from a successful indoor season and improve from the scores he posted. However, on top of all that, Montrez is looking to compete for nationals.

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