Jackson VanVuren's interview right after "the throw"

Jackson VanVuren making "the throw"

Four years ago Jackson VanVuren had plans of following in his brothers footsteps and excelling at track & field and running in the state meet.  Sometimes things don't happen like we have planned....sometimes bad things happen to us so something even better can happen.

Jackson entered his freshman year at Faith Bible ready to lace up the spikes and be an elite sprinter.  Only problem is nagging injuries plagued VanVuren his freshman year to the point he could no longer run competitively.  Head track coach Amy Kirkpatrick suggested he try some new events involving throwing to give his body some time to heal.  After trying a little of everything he went over to javelin to work with Faith's new throwing coach Mike Blay.  Mike immediately saw that Jackson was a natural at the javelin and encouraged him to try it out and see what he could do.  By the end of his freshman year he threw 124'4 and finished in 9th place in districts.  That was all it took for Jackson to get hooked on this new event he knew nothing about just a few months ago.  While 2012 was an introduction course, Jackson came into 2013 ready to see how good he could actually be.

Entering his sophomore year Jackson now considered himself a javelin thrower and he spent most of his season exclusively working on the javelin.  This year he entered districts with a good chance of going to state.  Districts came and it was a wet day with a slippery runway to throw from.  Jackson scratched his first two throws slipping on the wet surface.  He only had one throw left to make finals, he had to come up with a new strategy.  Don't do a full run up, use a short five step run up and rely on technique to get into finals.  It worked, he qualified for finals and eventually placed 2nd at districts with a throw of 145'2.  His dream of making it to state like his older brother Mitch had come true, not running like he had always thought, but in a new event he was beginning to fall in love with.  State came and the competition was tough, but as a sophomore he not only placed but won the state championship in javelin with a throw of 165'10.  He became the first athlete from Faith to ever win a state championship.  His throwing coach Mike Blay liked to remind Jackson over the summer that he might be the best in the state, but he was only the second best in his district so he needed to continue to improve and work hard to separate himself from the rest of the throwers in the state.

Now a junior at Faith and a returning state champion Jackson now carried high expectations onto the field and into the season from his coaches, fellow competitors and mostly himself.  Jackson began to lift weights, study film and do everything he could be make himself better.  The Falcon booster club bought him a javelin that would allow him to throw at his maximum distance.  At districts Jackson would not disappoint as four throwers from our district threw automatic qualifying marks to make it to state and Jackson led the way with a throw of 184'3.  He displayed his sportsmanship and class by allowing all three other qualifiers to use his new javelin so everyone would be on an equal playing field.    Jackson went back to state and won his second state title in as many years throwing 178'10.

Entering his senior season Jackson had his sights set on the 200 mark.  After some talks with the Oregon Ducks over the summer they said they wanted to see him throw 200, and if he did that he could very well be a preferred walk on at the University of Oregon.  Jackson was already committed to Oregon with an academic scholarship so now it would be all or nothing.  If Jackson was unable to hit 200 his career would end at Faith.  If he was able to hit 200 his senior year he would have a chance at competing on the best track program in the country.  The very first meet of his senior season Jackson threw 198'8.  Everyone felt like it was only a matter of time until he broke 200 since he thew 198'8 in his first meet.  But nagging injuries started piling up and and he reached districts and still hadn't broke the 200 barrier.  At districts he threw 192'7 taking first and he also qualified for state in the long jump which he broke the school record  jumping a 20'3.5 and he also helped set a new school record in the 4x100 with a time of 46.60, which also qualified for state.  Just for good measure he also got 3rd place in the 100m with a time of 12.06, which was a PR. After this great all around performance Jackson was awarded the NWL athlete of the year for 2015.

So now he is in Eugene, Oregon at the University of Oregon standing in Historic Hayward Field where he hopes to continue his track career the following year throwing for the Ducks.  This is his last chance to reach the 200 mark.  He first jumps 20' taking 4th in the long jump.  Then he runs the 4x100 as the javelin is getting ready to start.  He finishes his run, his hamstring is extremely tight, his side still hurts from an earlier injury, he has a hole in his fingernail from a spike going through it, he is late to warm up since he just ran the relay, but none of that matters at this moment.  There is nothing that he will let hold him back from giving his best, there is no tomorrow to save anything for....it is today or never.  Before his first throw the announcer in the stadium announces that javelin is starting and Jackson VanVuren the two time state champion is getting ready to throw for Faith Bible.  Here it is....as every practice, weight session, ice bath, healthy meal flashes before his eyes....he knows this is why....this is why he has been disciplined to his craft and that now is the payoff for all the work put into this for the past four years.  Jackson electrifies the crowed throwing into the 190s consistently.  It has been four throws, he only has two throws left in his high school career, he has done good and is leading the event by 20'.  But sometimes good isn't good enough, for Jackson he wanted a moment of greatness.  He says a short prayer, he grabs his javelin and walks on the runway.  Everything in the stadium changes, the temperature drops a few degrees, the wind comes to a complete stop.  Jackson feels God's presence with him like never before, he feels God telling him now is your time.  The announcer draws the attention of the whole stadium to watch Jackson on this particular throw.  There are several other events going on at this time, but all eyes are on Jackson.  The whole crowed begins to clap encouraging Jackson with their support.  The whole crowed at Hayward field is cheering on this sprinter from the small high school of Faith Bible as he attempts his throw.  He closes his eyes and gives thanks for this opportunity.  He opens his eyes, takes a deep breath and starts his run up.  He is thinking speed, if this is going to be a great throw he has got to build speed and everything has to come together just perfectly.  He runs hard, he blocks, he throws with all his might, his body is flung forward like out of a canon, he lands on his hands and knees just an inch from the scratch line with his face hovering right over the line, he couldn't have come any closer to scratching.  The javelin sails through the air, it is a strong throw, it has a chance, it starts heading back toward the earth, it is really close to the 200' line drawn on the field.  It lands and it is just beyond the 200ft line.  The crowed goes crazy, everyone in the stadium erupts with cheers and looks on with disbelief at what they just witnessed a high school kid accomplish.  Jackson can't believe it, he is ecstatic, he runs with the energy of a young kid having the time of his life, he jumps high into the sky pumping his fist, then he falls to he knees, bows his head and gives thanks to the Almighty for making this moment possible.  He has done it, Jackson broke the 200' barrier throwing a new PR of 201'9.  This wasn't just a personal best though, he set the new 2A state track meet record.

Sometimes things don't happen like we have planned....sometimes bad things happen to us so something even better can happen.  Jackson wanted to be a sprinter like his brother Mitch, but because Jackson was injured his freshman year he found something he was good at...no let me correct that, he threw over 200', he found something he is great at.  When things don't always go according to plan just remember there might be something way better for you out there.  Now Jackson waits to here back from the University of Oregon.  Hopefully his 201'9 throw won't be his last or furthest throw at Hayward Field.  

This entry was posted on Friday, May 29, 2015 and is filed under ,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

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