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Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

High school star chooses PPU

photo by Ty Smith
Freshman sprinter Falonte Jackson runs the anchor leg in the 4×400 meter relay.

Falonte Jackson, a champion high school sprinter, chose Point Park over schools with a more established track and field program because he wanted to be a part of something new.

 “I want to make history for [Point Park] as one of the first people to run for them,” said Jackson of being a member of the school’s first-year track and field team.

The Cleveland native, who began running track at 12 years old, is already making history at the University, becoming a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national qualifier in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.34 seconds, according to the University’s athletics website.

“I started [running] in AAU (Amateur Athletic Union). I got into track because of my dad…he wanted me to do something over the summer and track was that sport,” Jackson said.

The freshman accounting major, who said he is known as “Peanut” because of the shape of his head, attended Glenville High School in Cleveland, a notorious Ohio high school track and field powerhouse. He says his track and field career started off shaky because of two hamstring injuries that limited his ability to go full speed. Jackson would become only better after recovering from his injuries, winning a state championship his senior year in the 4×100 and 4×400 relay, which led him to attend Point Park.

Head track and field coach Kelly Parsley said Jackson is a versatile runner, which adds to the team’s success.

“Well, obviously, he’s very fast,” Parsley said in his office on the sixth floor of the Bank Tower on Jan. 22. “He can run anything; he runs in the 100, 200 [and] 400, which gives us the opportunity to put him in relays.”

Point Park men’s and women’s track and field teams had their inaugural meet on Dec. 5 at the Youngstown State University Icebreaker as a part of its indoor season. Jackson competed in three events at the opening meet, including the 60-meter dash, 200-meter and 4×400 relay. He said competing at the first ever track meet at Point Park felt great. 

“It was one of the best feelings,” Jackson said. “It was close to home in Ohio. I think I was the only person with his family there. I actually did really well at that track meet. A lot of people recognized the school and me.”

Jackson competed on Saturday at the SPIRE Midwest Open in Geneva, Ohio and led Point Park in both the 60-meter and 200-meter. The sprinter came in 14th in the 60 with a time of 7.18 seconds and 27th in the 200 coming in at 22.71 seconds, according to the University’s athletics website.

Parsley and Jackson’s goal this season is to make it to Nationals in March. Parsley believes the teams will have more national qualifiers in addition to Jackson.

“We have some other athletes who I think can achieve the national standard in order to qualify,” Parsley said. 

According to Jackson, he will run the 100-meter, 200-meter and 4×400 meter relay for the Pioneers once the outdoor track and field season begins in March.

McKenzie Wilson, a distance runner on the women’s track and field team, said Jackson is a talented runner and has potential to go far in his collegiate track career.

“As a team, I would love to see us win conferences. Falonte is an extremely strong runner and could really help the men’s team win the conference meet,” Wilson said.

Jackson and the Pioneer track and field teams will continue their season on Feb. 7 at Mt. Union Jim Wuske Invitational in Alliance, Ohio.


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