Albany State University senior Christopher Jackson had his collegiate track and field career come to an end in mid-March, thanks to COVID-19.
Like most athletes, Jackson was not happy. “I was devastated and upset,” he said.
Jackson was coming off of a junior season where he earned All-American honors at the Division II Historically Black Institution located in southwest Georgia.
Jackson kicked off the 2020 outdoor track & field season in impressive fashion.
The 2016 Bradwell Institute graduate won the men’s 100m race at the Cougar Invitational on February 22. The meet was held in Smiths Station, Alabama at the JD Evilsiozer Track & Field Complex and hosted by Columbus State University.
Jackson won the race with a time of 11.01, which was .02 seconds faster than the second place finisher.
At the Clark Atlanta University Panther Invitational on Feb. 29 in Atlanta, Jackson placed fourth in the 100m race with a time of 11.29 and was 10th in the 200m race after being timed at 23.48.
Jackson and his Albany State teammates traveled to Savannah on March 7 to participate in the Savannah State University Orange and Blue Classic. Running so close to home, he had his best showing of the shorten season. Jackson won the 100m race with a time of 10.71 while finishing seventh in the 200m race after being clocked at 22.48.
Following the meet at Savannah State, Jackson was named the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Track & Field Performer of the Week. It was an award Jackson did not take for granted. “It felt great because I was finally getting back on the right track.”
Albany State was preparing to run at the Georgia Southern GATA Classic on March 13 when the season came to a halt. It would have been another chance for Jackson to perform close to home in front of family and friends.
On March 12, the SIAC determined that it was in the best interest of the health and safety of their student-athletes, coaches, athletic administrators, and fans to cancel all spring athletic and championship events through the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.
“I was very disappointed and I tried to get over it. It still hasn’t hit me yet that my season is over.”
Since the season was cancelled, students at schools in the University System of Georgia have been required to finish the semester with online courses. While some prefer the regular in-person classroom setting, Jackson, saying he is happy he is able to finish school, states that he enjoys the online classes. “The online classes are going okay. They are getting better as I progress in the class.”
While back in Hinesville, Jackson says that he continues to exercise by doing ab workouts and plyometrics and that he regularly talks to his coaches and teammates.
Recently the NCAA voted to give spring sports athletes a extra year of eligibility. Jackson applauds the idea saying he loves the decision that hey made but he won’t be returning to school next year because he is completing the graduation requirements for his undergraduate degree in Health and Human Performance.
Albany State canceled its spring commencement out of caution due to the coronavirus ,but school officials are committed to finding ways to honor its graduates at a time when large gatherings are once again safe.
COVID-19 has hit the Albany area very hard and when asked if he was worried and what precautions he has taken, Jackson responded, “Not at all. I’ve actually just stop touching my face and watch what I touch. I also wash my hands very frequently.”