COLUMBIA — Victoria Jackson has been running after school at the Hickman track for as long as anyone can remember.
When she was 8 years old, her father brought Jackson to the track to see what she could do and to see if track and field would be something that she would enjoy. Over the next decade, Hickman track and field coaches became accustomed to seeing her training after school.
2010 GIRLS LONG JUMP
1. Lauren Cheadle, Jr., Lee's Summit West, 18-04.75
2. Jade Nalls, Sr., Raytown South, 18-00.50
3. Ekate Lymon, Jr., Waynesville, 17-11.00
4. JaKyra Shelton, Jr., North Kansas City, 17-10.50
5. Jazmin Mccoy, Fr., North Kansas City, 17-04.25
6. Nataliyah Friar, Fr., Holt, 17-01.25
7. Alexis Fennoy, Sr., Hazelwood Central, 16-10.75
8. Victoria Jackson, Jr., Hickman, 16-08.25
2009 GIRLS LONG JUMP
1. Erin Alewine, Sr., Jefferson City, 18-01.75
2. Morgan Reid, Jr., North Kansas City 18-00.50
3. Victoria Jackson, So., Hickman, 17-09.50
2009 GIRLS 100-METER HURDLES
1. Ashli Mosby, Sr., Raytown South, 14.71
2. Madison Smith, So., Lee's Summit North, 14.99
3. Sarah Noonan, Sr., Kirkwood, 15.01
4. Erin Alewine, Sr., Jefferson City, 15.15
5. Shea Groom, So., Liberty, 15.20
6. Nicole Douglas, Fr., Parkway West, 15.37
7. Miana Lee, Sr., Parkway Central, 15.52
8. Victoria Jackson, So., Hickman, 15.56
2008 GIRLS LONG JUMP
1. Jade Nalls, So., Raytown South, 18-06.50
2. Olivia Koehler, Jr., Timberland, 18-02.00
3. Victoria Jackson, So., Hickman, 18-01.50
"Kids were like, 'Wow, that girl's going to be something when she gets bigger,'" Hickman jumps coach Stewart Johnson said. "And I was like, 'She already is something.'"
Jackson, now a senior on the Hickman track and field team, has placed in the state's top ten in long jump three times and placed in the top three twice.
Next year, Jackson will be practicing on a new track. She has earned a scholarship to compete for the Northern Iowa track and field team.
"I went down and visited, and I really liked the atmosphere of the team and all the girls, and the focus and the coaches and everything down there," Jackson said. "You can really tell that they're trying to grow and get better as a team, and I really want to be a part of that."
Jackson's work ethic has been a big part of her success.
At practice, Jackson does most of her workout on her own. But whether she knows it or not, a lot of people are watching.
Coaches stop chattering when Jackson starts to run. Teammates waiting to continue their routines, both boys and girls, stop pacing and focus their attention on her.
When she stops running, most go back to what they were doing, but sophomore Corey Potter asks Jackson what her workout is that day and soaks in every word of Jackson's answer.
"She's really blossomed into a really positive influence on her teammates and just has a really positive spirit about her," sprints coach Luke Neal said.
Her coaches say she has always been talented but has really developed into a vocal leader while she has been at Hickman.
"Victoria's always been one of those quiet people that leads by example," Johnson said. "This year, we have a lot of young girls on the team and very few seniors, so we tell the seniors that they really have to be great leaders, and she's really stepped up in a vocal way and is showing more of her personality."
But even when nobody is looking, Jackson is still practicing. When Jackson, who was a sprinter and long jumper as a freshman, decided to to try hurdles as a sophomore, she found a way to put in the extra work needed.
"I started hurdling my sophomore year, and that year, Coach (Neal) let me take like two hurdles home and just do drills, drills, drills," Jackson said.
Last season, Jackson placed fifth in the state in the 100-meter hurdles. Last weekend, she won the 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles at the Capital City Relays in Jefferson City.
"Because she is not only fast but also flexible and explosive, it's a really good event for her," Neal said. "I didn't anticipate her being this good at the hurdles, but I thought it was an event that she would do really well at."
Jackson will continue her senior season Tuesday when the Kewpies host the Hickman Relays.