In high school at Topeka West, senior thrower Deja Jackson decided to try her luck in throwing for the track team because she felt she was “a strong young woman.” But it wasn’t until her last year that she thought seriously about throwing in college.
“I am kind of a late person,” Jackson said. “I don’t really know what I want to do until the deadline. It started becoming a reality my senior year.”
Jackson chose Emporia State for several reasons. Her grandmother attended college here and she also did not want to be too far from her home in Topeka. While visiting with the throwers and coaches, ESU seemed like a good fit.
Jackson is working toward her degree rehabilitation education.
“I enjoy helping people, and I like the counseling aspect of it,” Jackson said.
Jacksons’ teammates enjoy having her around and said she is always smiling, has great hair and that they love her presence.
“She makes the sport fun for everyone,” said junior thrower Elizabeth Stover.
But just because Jackson knows how to have a good time does not mean she doesn’t know when to be serious. On meet days, Jackson warms up with the team, and helps out everyone that she can.
“When it comes to her event, she is focused and she does work,” Stover said. “When she steps in the ring, she is ready to go.”
Jackson is described as a teammate with great skills in the ring, and is a good leader as well. She gives constructive criticism, and her teammates accept it.
“Deja’s probably the best team captain I’ve ever had. She’s a great teammate, and a great person,” said freshman thrower Brennan Goodnature. “She tells you straight up if you are throwing good… she gets down to the point.”
When asked how good the team was going to do this year, Jackson replied confidently.
“I think we are going to do great. I think we have depth in all of the events. We have a really good atmosphere. This year is one of the best team building atmospheres’ I have been in since I have been here. It is just really positive, so I think we will do really well.”
Jackson is also close with her teammates. The throwers try to get together if not once a week, then every other week to eat “thrower style” meals.
Jackson said throwing is nice because when she’s angry, she can let out some aggression. She also likes the competition.
“I like the fact that it is so technical,” Jackson said. “Anyone can be beaten any given day.”
When asked what the best advice she had ever been given was, Jackson replied without hesitation.
“Just go out there and have fun – don’t think so much.”