North Canyon (Phoenix) senior Austin Jackson can cross one last thing off of his high school sports bucket list.
He got to run in a relay.
In fact, the 6-foot-6, 290-pounder anchored North Canyon’s 4×100-meter relay to victory in a dual meet against Scottsdale Chaparral.
“It felt great,” said Jackson, the state’s No. 1 2017 football prospect at offensive tackle, who signed in February with USC. “Always glad to compete, whatever the situation.”
Jackson, a great athlete who helped North Canyon’s basketball team go deep in the state tournament in 2016 as a post player, put a bug in his track coach’s ear early in the track season when he asked to run in a relay.
Airabin Justin, the school’s track coach who was given the head football coaching position in the offseason, had marveled about Jackson’s strength and athleticism since his freshman year.
He broke school records this track season for the shot put (52 feet, 2 3/4 inches) and the discus (187 feet).
But being able to run in a track meet was something Jackson always toyed with.
“It kind of came out of the blue,” Justin said. “We were getting our relay team together and I called Austin over. He got to get a little practice in with the (baton) hand-off. It went well. He likes to run with some of our guys, like Tyrees (Moulton).”
Justin said he didn’t do the splits, so he didn’t know what Jackson’s 100 split time was. But he said Jackson wasn’t huffing and puffing down the straightaway.
“It’s something he wanted to do,” Justin said.