Langston Jackson Ready For Next Step At UK HS Indoor Invite

By the time Langston Jackson realized just what he accomplished this time last year, hitting a US No. 4 time of 6.72 seconds in the 60 meter dash, it was already too late. 

The Henry Clay (KY) High School then-junior had already started planning for the outdoor season. He wasn't even thinking about lining up at New Balance Nationals Indoor. 

"I wasn't really confident in my 60," Jackson said recently. "I knew I ran fast times, but it was against guys in Kentucky. Up until the Marshall meet, I hadn't run a top mark nationally, but after that race, it was too late to think about so I focused on outdoors." 


Jackson had a right to be skeptical. He had slowly built his body back up following a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee during his sophomore year of football and was still slowly working toward getting back to full strength. 

But by March, no athlete other than Anthony Schwartz ran faster than 6.72 seconds at nationals. 

This year, Jackson, who was an All-City honoree in football, says he's going all-in on the 60m, and a big planning stage will take place on Saturday at the UK High School Indoor Invitational in Lexington. 

Three athletes who have broken 6.8 seconds are in the field, as well as three more who have broken 6.9. A total of 14 athletes will enter the 60m with times under 7 seconds, including US No. 2 Marcellus Moore and US No. 8 Lance Lang. 

"I'm really excited," Jackson said. "I usually don't see any competition until this track meet, and I know these guys will bring out the best of my abilities. Hopefully I can bring out the best in them, too." 

This will also be a place of comfort for Jackson, an eight-time state champion in his home state. In January, he signed with the University of Kentucky after visits to Texas, Houston, Penn State and Michigan. 

"Last year I met a lot of college coaches here," Jackson said. "I think it helped, because up until then they didn't know what I could do." 

Years prior, Jackson had certainly showed potential in track and field. He had joined local track programs in Kentucky as way back as 2011 when he was 10 years old. As a freshman at Henry Clay, he had finished twice third individually at the state track meet in Kentucky, running a then-PR of 10.60 seconds in the 100m and 21.80 seconds in the 200m. 

After skipping his sophomore indoor season to recover from the tear, he managed to finish second at state in the 100m (10.84), but was gearing back up to his full potential by that junior indoor season. 

Following early outings of 6.85 seconds and 6.87 seconds in the 60m at two invitationals at Kentucky, Langston flew out of the blocks at Marshall against Brendon Stewart and Nick Cross and went a career best 6.72 seconds. 

"I was on a high after that race," Jackson said. "I was on the top of the world." 

His outdoor season also reaffirmed his work when he went a PR of 10.49 seconds in the 100m at the Bryan Station Woodall HS Invitational and won two individual state titles, including his time of 10.56 seconds in the 100m, which was just a few hundredths of a second off the state record. He ran 21.33 seconds in the 200m. 

There's no question Jackson wants the UK HS Invitational on Saturday to be successful. In some ways, it's the kind of race that could finally validate him as a proven sprinter at the national level. 

His local paper, The Lexington Herald Leader, has called him "The Fastest High School Kid in Lexington," but perhaps there's a little more in the tank for him. 

The past few days Jackson and his coaches have been working on core work, explosiveness and mobility. He'll perfect block starts on Friday, and hopes to go under 6.7 by race time on Saturday.  

"I just want to perform this weekend," Jackson said. "And looking forward, hopefully I can become an All-American and reach a big PR. I think I'm faster than what I've shown." 

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