MACLEOD PAPPIDAS | THE DAILY WORLD
Elma grad Todd Jackson, seen here leading Aberdeen’s Poli Baltazar in the 1600-meter run at the 2010 Grays Harbor All County Track & Field meet at North Beach High School, verbally committed to run cross country and track & field at the Texas A&M University in Lubbock, Texas on Wednesday. Jackson will sign a National Letter of Intent in February.
Todd Jackson, an Elma High School grad running cross country and track at Central Arizona College in Coolidge, Ariz., will have a new home in College Station, Texas next fall.
On Wednesday, Jackson verbally committed to running cross country and track for Texas A&M University on a full-ride athletic scholarship.
The transfer will be official in February with the signing of a National Letter of Intent, but Jackson is relieved to have the decision made.
“When I went out there for a visit, everyone I met wanted to be there and to win,” Jackson said. “That’s what I want to do — win a national championship. Everyone is there for the same reason and I made a tough decision. As soon as I left on the plane, I knew I’d spend the next three years there.”
Jackson said that he’ll have two years of eligibility in cross country, two years of eligibility in men’s outdoor track and three years of eligibility in men’s indoor track at A&M.
Jackson is currently training with the Vaqueros for the NJCAA National Championships at Rend Lake College, Ill., on Nov. 10. Ironically, Jackson originally went to Rend Lake College after graduating from Elma in 2011, but transferred to Central Arizona College this year.
Central Arizona is ranked No. 1 in the men’s NJCAA Division I rankings entering the national championship meet.
Jackson noted that A&M’s atmosphere, cross country and track coaching staff and future teammates made a big impression on him. The Aggies’ head coach, Pat Henry, has three consecutive track & field men’s and women’s NCAA Division I titles each (2009-11) and 30 NCAA Division I track & field championships at LSU (1988-2004).
The Aggies began competing in the Southeastern Conference this fall, which is considered one of the toughest track & field conference, next to the Pac-12 Conference, in the nation.
“I went to the A&M-LSU games on my visit and the atmosphere at the game was unbelievable,” Jackson said. “I liked the fact that I can go to the games. I wanted the whole college experience. Everyone supports everyone there, no matter what.”
Jackson will leave Central Arizona with an Associate’s degree in sports/athletic training and will pursue a Bachelor’s degree in the same field.