MISHAWAKA—Senior Thomas Jackson kicked off the 2021 Indoor Track & Field season in an explosive way. However, this did not mean the start of the season was easy. Like everyone else, COVID-19 proved to be an obstacle.
“It’s been different,” said Jackson. “Even though I still interact with my teammates, it’s not like it has been in the past. With the social distancing and having to wear a mask, it took me a bit to get acclimated with the freshman.”
Last season, Jackson was named an Indoor All-American, as well as an Indoor Athlete of the Meet at the NCCAA National Championships. This year, he has been named the Crossroads League Athlete of the Week and the NAIA National Indoor Athlete of the Week. He also had the opportunity in 2018 to compete for a spot on the USA Track & Field Junior Outdoor Championships.
“It means a lot,” said Jackson, “It’s a small goal that will lead to a bigger goal, but every achievement, acknowledgement, and award that I get is a blessing.”
This season, the Pilots competed at the IWU Invitational where Jackson had two NAIA standards and three NCCAA standards. His NAIA standards came in Long Jump, taking first with a mark of 7.48m, and Triple Jump, taking second with a mark of 14.10m. His NAIA standards came in the Long Jump, the Triple Jump, and the 60m. He placed third in the 60m with a time of 7.01 seconds.
As far as the rest of this season, the Bethel Men’s Track and Field team has a shortened indoor season with two meets left until the Crossroads League Championship and then the NAIA National Championship.
“Bringing a national championship back to the school, both individually and as a team, is definitely a goal for me and my teammates” said Jackson.
Bethel has yet to compile a schedule for their outdoor season, but for updates on that visit www.bupilots.com.
As a senior, Jackson plans to graduate from Bethel this spring with a major in Sports Studies.
“Hopefully I can qualify for the Olympic trials and continue my track and field career,” said Jackson. “I want to continue to keep running and jumping and being a positive role model for those that do not have that person in their life. For me, I had different people that told me different things, and I just want to make sure that those individuals can get to where they want to go.”
The Men’s Indoor Track and Field team will compete next on Feb. 5 at the IWU Midwest Classic.