The game plan in the days leading up to the Meet of Champions was simple for Julia Jackson: don’t think about it.
Nerves had overtaken the Scotch Plains-Fanwood junior in recent days, so blocking the thought of competing on New Jersey’s grandest track and field stage was the only thing she could do until she toed the line for the 400-meter run at South Plainfield on Saturday.
And once she did, she never looked back.
Jackson clocked a sizzling 54.48 to win the 400, holding off Holmdel’s Sydney Goldson (55.39) and Howell’s Laura Gugliotta (56.56).
“Every meet, I’ve been trying to run it like it was my last meet. Today, I was so nervous that I tried to not think about it. I tried to block it from my mind and then on the line, I was like, ‘O.K., I need to trust myself,’”
Jackson said she didn’t start the race as fast as she has recently, but was still able to deliver with a win.
“I actually feel like it didn’t go out as fast as usual but I was just focused on breaking the stagger and then just trying to finish the race and see what happens.”
1-Julia Jackson, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, 54.48
2-Sydney Goldson, Holmdel, 55.39
3-Laura Gugliotta, Howell, 56.56
4-Nevaeh Lorjuste, Triton, 57.07
5-Grace Kennedy, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, 57.16
6-Madison Latimer, Newton, 57.64
7-Anne Rutledge, Egg Harbor, 57.66
8-Miriam Wolk, Millburn, 57.67
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