Marlboro’s Matt Jackson does intend to play sports at Virginia Tech as an engineering-major after he graduates later this month.
But the senior three-sport athlete is finishing his time as a Duke with an appearance in the state track and field championships. Jackson qualified in Middletown as the top D-II shot putter with a throw of 46 feet.
In any other spring Jackson would have been getting ready for football in the fall. But he has no season to look forward to this year, and he answered a request, similar from earlier years, that he try out as a thrower for the team.
“This year, asked me again, and I wasn’t doing anything this spring. Why not? Give it a try,” he said. “And I have really been surprised by the success I have had this season.”
During his first and only season on the track and field team, Jackson said he had to learn different techniques as a thrower to reach his potential. Jackson was a football lineman, and the push you see between opposing lines on the gridiron looks similar to the forward motion he gives with the release of the shot.
Jackson also started for the varsity basketball this season after playing football. And football, with its game time traditions and physicality, is Jackson’s favorite sport as an athlete.
“Nothing beats Friday Night Lights,” he said, last week prior to getting ready for the state track meet. “I like all the sports I’ve done. Got to know a lot of people, made a lot of good friends. But there is something about football. When you put that helmet on and walk out onto the field, you can’t beat it. So football has always been my favorite.”