Wednesday morning, Rose Jackson, a 17-year-old Willmar senior, signed a National Letter of Intent to attend North Dakota State University and compete for the Bison track and field team.
The University is getting not only a track star but a superior student. Rose is a straight A student considering a major in mathematics or engineering.
She also visited the U of M campus (“Too big”) and corresponded with Cornell in the Ivy League (“Too much paperwork”).
Her scholarship will cover room and board.
NDSU head coach Ryun Godfrey projects converting her to the indoor pentathlon (5 events) and the outdoor heptathlon (7 events).
Between the back-to-back seasons, Division I track and field athletes are practicing and competing from November through May.
Rose will join other notable Minnesota athletes presently with Bison track: distance runners Heidi Peterson of Sartell and Greta Danielson of St. Cloud Cathedral and sprinter Ashley Tingelstad of East Grand Forks and Lake Park Audubon.
Jackson moved here to start her sophomore year from Detroit Lakes (Her mother Linda manages the dental clinic at Rice Memorial Hospital.)
Rose won state Class AA medals in long jump, the 200 dash and relay as a tenth grader and medaled twice as a junior (100 and 200). She broke Beth Zimmer’s school-record long jump by 7 inches at True Team last spring with a burst of 18-5 ¾.
She also became a competitive swimmer here for Coach Carl Shuldes, a sport that kept her conditioned for the track season “Instead of just sitting around all fall.”
Track coach Jerry Popp commented Wednesday morning in a conference room off the central office where Rose signed the papers: “She’s very talented. And she’s a little stubborn. She likes to be good, though she talks like it doesn’t matter. Truly, she doesn’t like to get beat.”
To prepare for college, Popp will try to work the team star into various events like hurdles, the 400, 800 or high jump this spring. He must pick his spots because in the bigger meets the team can’t afford to sacrifice points given per certified value in sprints, long jump and relays.
“I’m excited,” Rose commented. “I can’t wait for track to start.”
If she were already in Fargo, she would be heading with the team this weekend to Ames, Iowa, for the Iowa State Classic, the fifth indoor event of the season.