The pieces all fell into place for Brianna Jackson on Friday.
Not even considering running track in college when her senior year at Evans High School began, the 2013 alum signed her letter of intent to run for the Division I Jacksonville State University Gamecocks in Jacksonville, Ala.
Already accepted to Kennesaw State University, Jackson didn’t think about running at the next level, but people kept telling her she could and finally she believed it was a possibility.
“I wasn’t sure, I was nervous that I wouldn’t be fast enough or good enough running in college, especially at a Division I school,” said Jackson. “People just started contacting me and I just started visiting schools and it opened up my mind to I can really run at school.”
It didn’t hurt that assistant track coach Ryan Bennett reached out to his alma mater, which competes in the Ohio Valley Conference,
“Coach Bennett was sending my times out to different colleges and he told me about Jacksonville,” Jackson said. “It was kind of like at the last minute so I was like why not and I just went to Jacksonville State and ended up loving it.”
Bennett who is impressed by Jackson’s work ethic, pushed for Jacksonville State.
“When I saw what she could do, I talked to Coach (Asha) Gibson down there and I told her what she could do,” Bennett said.
When she toured the campus, everything impressed her. Where other colleges were vague, Jacksonville State was up front about what they would give her and she liked what she saw from the academic side of the school.
“The college is really nice, so of course I’ll put that first,” Jackson said. ““They have a good biology, good science program and a good science center, because I want to major in biology.”
Jackson will run cross country in the fall to help build endurance for the track season, where she plans to run the 800 meter. She placed third in the 800 at the 2013 Region 2-AAAAA championships, but fell just short of qualifying for the state meet the following week at sectionals, which fell on Evans’ prom night.
“I was so busy running around, getting ready for prom that I was exhausted,” Jackson said. “I didn’t eat and I didn’t prepare mentally or physically. It was hard. I look back at it and I shouldn’t have gone to stupid prom,” she said laughing.