Cherry Hill East Johnnie Jackson, a former one-time NCAA champion for Louisiana State, hit a PR this spring and has qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials later this month.
Jackson, 27, threw a PR 237-1 at a recent meet at LSU’s Bernie Moore Stadium in Baton Rouge, snapping his four-year-old PR of 235-3, which he threw in Eugene in June of 2017.
It was only Jackson’s second meet since April of 2019. He opened the 2021 season with a near-PR of 235-1 in a meet at Irwin Belk Stadium on North Carolina A&T’s campus in Greensboro, N.C.
Jackson’s best throw in 2018 was 219-0 in a meet in Baton Rouge and his best in 2019 was 224-0 in a meet in Meadville, Pa., so he’s already far beyond where he’s been the last few years.
With his 237-1, Jackson surpassed the qualifying standard of 236-2 for the U.S. Olympic Trials later this month in Eugene.
Jackson wasn’t an elite thrower in high school. He had PRs of 48-4 1/4 in the shot put when he placed 3rd in the 2012 Olympic Conference Championships at Washington Township and 155–2 in the discus when he placed 7th at the state Group 4 meet at Old Bridge later in 2012.
As a freshman at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, he first competed in the hammer on March 29, 2014, throwing 179-0 to win a meet at Cowley County College in Arkansas City, Kansas. He threw 189-11 by the end of his freshman year and placed second at the NJCAA National Championships in Mesa, Ariz., less than three feet behind winner Brady Grunder of Iowa Central Community College.
He improved to 208-6 as a sophomore at Coffeyville and again placed second at nationals, this time to Sergio Guiro of Cowley at Hutchinson, Kansas.
At LSU, he threw 217-1 as a junior and then as a senior he threw 235-4, taking sixth at NCAAs. He won the NCAA title in the weight throw indoors at College Station, Texas.
At the U.S. Trials at Hayward Field, Jackson will throw at 12:05 p.m. on Friday, June 18. The finals are at 4:25 p.m. that Sunday, June 20.
Jackson also has a discus PR of 183-9 from a meet in Columbia, S.C., in May of 2017 and was ranked as high as 66th among U.S. men in 2017, which is the last time he threw the discus competitively. His PR in the indoor 35-pound weight throw is 77-3 1/2 from a meet in Birmingham, S.C., in January, 2017.