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Senior Jackson Frank is in his second year as a captain for the North Haven boys’ cross country team. Jackson and the Indians are sporting a record of 9-3 thus far this fall. (Photo courtesy of Jackson Frank )
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Jackson Frank started running when he came to North Haven High School as a freshman and has been a fixture on the boys’ cross country team, as well as the indoor and outdoor track squads, ever since. Jackson is currently in the middle of his senior season as a captain in cross country. He views running as a great escape and embraces the challenge of competing against himself.
“I think I started it as a way to take my mind off school. It was just something to do, and it became something I can focus a lot on,” says Jackson. “I focus on improving my own times and working harder for the team. Cross country became something I really cared about.”
Jackson has helped North Haven’s boys’ cross country team race out to a record of 9-3 this fall. He likes how each meet and every practice provide he and his teammates with the chance to trim their times on the trails.
“I think it’s just the opportunity to improve. You can have tangible evidence of your improvement, because you have times that show you how you did,” Jackson says. “Looking to improve your times, because it’s painful, makes the teams grow closer at times, because of the suffering you’re going through together.”
Jackson felt honored to earn the title of captain for the cross country squad as a junior last fall. Now a senior, Jackson is enjoying the experience of leading a young club to success in 2018.
“It means a lot to me. I think being able to be there for the younger kids on the team, just setting an example and giving them something to be a part of, creates a positive and encouraging environment for everyone,” says Jackson. “This year, we have a lot of younger kids. Last year, we didn’t have as many join the team, so it’s good to see. That’s the major difference in this team.”
Head Coach Carl Jackson says that Jackson worked hard during the weeks leading up to the season, because the senior captain wanted to do everything he could to help the Indians have a solid year. The coach continues to be impressed with how Jackson is performing now that the season is in full swing.
“It started over the summer when the team meets for practice. He has worked hard with them to get everybody ready for the season, and we’ve seen the dividends of this,” Coach Jackson says. “He’s constantly giving them ideas and suggestions on how to be successful. He has worked especially hard this season to be a big contributor to the team’s success.”
Jackson made it a point to put in that extra effort during the summer. When he heard word that more freshmen were coming out for the team, Jackson wanted to get a head start on the captains’ practices.
“We do summer practices, so we did those starting in July. That’s a major component of doing well during the season,” he says. “It sets a good base. Setting that up during the summer was a big thing that helped out. That was really important.”
Jackson’s favorite course to run on is Wickham Park in Manchester, which is typically the site of the State Championships. Jackson likes running at the big meets and gains confidence from passing his fellow competitors on the course.
“As I’ve been on the team for four years, I’ve gotten more focused on improving my own time and also to make sure that I’m passing people,” says Jackson. “If I’m improving my own times, I’m also doing well for the rest of the team.”
While the weather has been spotty during the first half of the season, Jackson actually feels that those conditions have worked to North Haven’s benefit. Jackson feels pleased with how well the Indians are running thus far and is looking forward to a successful home stretch.
“This season, we’ve had a lot of rain and a lot of mud in a lot of the races, but I think it helped us, because we’ve learned to run through the mud and big, deep puddles. We’ve been improving from that,” Jackson says. “I think we’re off to a really good start. I’ve seen a lot of personal improvement at all levels. I’m just excited for the rest of the season and seeing more growth.”
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