Staff Photo: John Bohn Matthew Morris of Peachtree Ridge fails to clear 15'6" while competing in the Class AAAAA pole vault event in the boys state championship track and field meet held Thursday in Jefferson. Morris finished in second place with a 15' jump.
JEFFERSON -- Malcolm Jackson already had the triple jump state championship locked up.
With one last jump of his career, Jackson made it a memorable leap at Thursday's track and field state championship.
The North Gwinnett senior jumped 48 feet, 1 inches to put an exclamation mark on the Class AAAAA state title.
"It was the last jump of my career, I wanted to make my coach proud," Jackson said with a big smile. "I've been trying for 47 mark all year."
Johnson's mark at the state meet broke his own school record of 46-10. He's the first North boys state champion since discus thrower Kibwe Johnson in 1998.
"I was hoping for 47, so the 48 was surprising," North assistant coach Brandon Wood said. "He did it all on his own."
Jackson was the county's only state champion on Thursday. Peachtree Ridge's Matt Morris (pole vault), Mill Creek's Trevor Joyce (discus), Dacula's Alex Armah (shot put) and Brookwood's Bilal Abdullah (high jump) finished second in their events.
The state meet resumes today with the running preliminaries and the 3,200 finals. It continues on Saturday with the running finals. Dacula is in first place with 25 points, Brookwood is tied for third with 18, Peachtree Ridge is fifth and Mill Creek is sixth.
Jackson made it to Thursday's triple jump finals easily and skipped his first attempt. He scratched on his second attempt, but made up for it with his final leap.
As Jackson walked away from the sand pit, he heard his mark of 48-1 called out and took off sprinting towards Wood to celebrate.
"I knew if I wanted to win, I had to PR and beat myself," Jackson said.
The win completes an impressive season for Jackson who won the Gwinnett County championship, Region 7-AAAAA title and was first at the East Sectional.
He won every meet but one, losing by an inch at Parkview, this season.
"I'm glad to win," Jackson said. "I didn't get a ring in football and I wanted to get one before I graduated."
Jackson was an all-county defensive back selection in football and signed with Charleston Southern, but he hasn't ruled out a track career at the next level.
"I'm thinking of doing track there," he said.