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Jackson Stumbles Early Before Landing on Feet

Marmonte track: State leader fails to place in long jump, but Royal High standout recovers with two firsts and a second.


MOORPARK — Oliver Jackson's feet lead to great feats. Whether clearing hurdles or landing in a long jump pit, they normally elicit cheers upon touching ground.

The Royal High senior is the state leader in the long jump and a formidable force in the triple jump and hurdles. But his feet failed him early in the Marmonte League track and field finals Friday night at Moorpark High.

Jackson fouled on his first two long jump attempts and became too cautious on his third try, not even placing in the event.

Royal Coach Don Reyes was crestfallen.

"It's never been a problem before," Reyes said. "He's never done that."

Jackson didn't take it as hard, prefering to keep his feet planted firmly on the ground. The approach served him well later in the meet.

"Everybody seems more upset about it than I am," he said. "I've felt weak all day. I could hardly wake up this morning. But I'm only human. I'm not getting overly excited."

Instead, he improved.

Jackson finished second in the 110-meter high hurdles, won the triple jump in 44-10 1/2 and capped his day with an upset victory in the 300 intermediate hurdles in 38.63.

Despite not scoring in the long jump, Jackson will advance to the Southern Section meet in the event because the league's coaches voted unanimously to send him instead of Royal sophomore Nathan Lange, who finished second.

"Nathan was fine with it," Reyes said. "He said, 'I've got two more years, Oliver should go.' "

There were no such pardons in team scoring.

A victory by Jackson in the long jump would have been worth 10 points. The Highlanders were unable to make up that early deficit--call it the Jackson Hole--and finished second to Thousand Oaks, 113 to 109.

Because Royal won the regular-season title, the Highlanders and Thousand Oaks share the league championship.

Thousand Oaks won the girls' title outright, defeating second-place Westlake, 125 to 96. The Lancers also won the regular-season championship.

The beneficiary of Jackson's miscue in the long jump was Newbury Park senior Will Svitek, who won the event in 21-0 1/2. Svitek, who will attend Stanford on a football scholarship, also won the shot put (56-8 1/4) and the discus (151-11), and finished fourth in the 110 high hurdles.

"The team points are what matters and I was really nervous because I wanted to do well for the team," Svitek said. "This was a hard meet because my events were stacked so close together."

Kareem Lacey of Simi Valley was the only other multiple winner among the boys, taking the 200 in 22.02 and the 400 in 50.73.

In the girls' meet, Erin Brzezinski of Thousand Oaks won three events, edging Carrie Murphy of Westlake in the 100 (12.48) and 200 (25.81), and taking the long jump (16-5 1/2).

Lancer freshman Mekenzie Hobbs won the 300 low hurdles (47.52) and the pole vault (9-0). Laura Jakosky of Agoura won the 1600 (5:07.43) and 3200 (11:05.56). Kelly Smith of Royal won the shotput (35-1 3/4) and discus (114-2).



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