With only a few major summer events left, Jarrion Lawson, a recent graduate of Liberty-Eylau (Texarkana, Texas)
still leads the nation with 2012 bests in the long jump and triple
jump. And he did it all on one day despite battling a slight headwind
and misty rain.
During the star-studded Texas state track meet,
the 6-foot-2, 165-pound Lawson shattered Class 3A records by winning the
long jump at 25 feet, 8 inches and the triple jump at 51 feet, 10 1/4
Lawson told MaxPreps, "That was a big day for me, because
I broke both records. I broke the triple by over a foot and missed the
overall (all classes) record by one inch. I took all six of my jumps and
the best one was the last one. (In the long jump) I was trying to go 26
feet, because I had gone 25-10 3/4 (wind-aided) in the regional. I did
25-8 on my first try, but I was tired and it was kind of humid."
He fouled on his second long jump attempt and he estimates that he soared around 26-2 or 26-3 on that occasion.
high school coach, Drew Norwood, calls it "the one that got away. He
scratched by a toenail. The state meet was the only time all year that
he took all six of his jumps, because he is so important to us in the
Lawson apparently was destined to be a jumper, according to a story told by Brannon Sledge, his cousin and AAU coach.
broke his arm twice, at age 4 and 6," Sledge recalled. "The first
time he was jumping on a bed and fell off the bed. The second time he
was running through the house and no more than five seconds after his
mother had told him to stop, he slipped on the kitchen floor and broke
the same arm."
However, his first event at age 9 was the 400-meter dash.
"He was a natural 400 runner," Sledge said.
Lawson conceded, "I won all my races. It was long. I was successful, but I didn't like doing it."
finally got his shot at the long jump a couple years later, but he was
just average for his age group. As a high school freshman he wasn't even
the top prospect, but he did go from the freshman to JV to varsity that
year until a back injury limited any chance for success.
summer before his sophomore year, however, he made a breakthrough by
placing eighth in the triple jump during the Junior Olympics in Norfolk,
Va. The next summer he won the triple jump gold medal at the Junior
Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa.
His sophomore year he also made
strides on his high school team and ran the third leg on the state
champion 4x400 relay. He also placed fourth in the state triple jump
after winning the regional.
"The big reason was that I skipped basketball my
sophomore year. I went into the weight room (he can bench press 255
pounds) and ran bleachers," Lawson said.
Norwood added, "Jarrion worked
so hard and was so dedicated that he made leaps and bounds. He was so
much better as a sophomore. He grew some and worked hard in the weight
room. The gains he made in strength really started to show. By the end
he was a big difference maker. We had tried to hide him (on the relay).
He went from 51 seconds to 48.8 and was a weapon."
That was the
only year Lawson did not play varsity basketball and he also played
three years of varsity football, so he never had much time to
concentrate on track. He averaged 7.1 points with a high game of 21 as a
senior forward. In football he was an All-State cornerback with five
interceptions as a senior. He had football scholarship offers from such
colleges as Missouri, Wyoming and Arkansas.
His promising junior year was plagued by a hairline fracture of his left ankle, perhaps from that basketball season.
jumped on it for eight or nine weeks," Lawson said. "I sat out in the
middle of the season (two or three weeks) and came back the week before
the district meet."
Sledge pointed out, "We thought he had a
sprained ankle. He still jumped around 48 feet in the triple and 23 feet
in the long jump with a stress fracture. That's remarkable."
recovery was so amazing that he won state championships in the triple
(49-1 1/2) and the long jump (24-5) despite being out of shape.
Lawson admitted, "I didn't think I would do that well. I won the long jump on my last jump. I was in fourth place before that."
Finally, there was no doubt that Lawson had arrived as a star and he proved it as a senior. His two state-meet records elevated him to No. 1 in the nation and so far no one has knocked him off that pedestal.
observed, "You've got a state champion - wow! That's excellent. A
national leader is phenomenal. It's once in a lifetime to coach a kid
like this. He is the best we've ever had."
Lawson had a shot at
the Olympic Trials in the long jump, but elected to seek a berth in the
World Juniors, with qualifying at Bloomington, Ind.
Then he will
take his 3.4 GPA to the University of Arkansas where he will study
engineering. Alabama was his second choice out of about 20 scholarship
Down the road, Norwood said, "He's got his sights set on
going to the Olympics and going after records. Who knows when he
devotes all his time to track how good he can be. He's still growing.
There's no telling."
Sledge predicts Olympic and possibly professional success for Lawson.
noted, "He has great work ethic. He's the type who would do whatever
you asked. He never had a problem doing extra work. He always has been a
big worker. I'm very proud of him and grateful that he's been able to
experience these things at a young age. You can tell he's confident the
way he carries himself, but he's still very humble. I really can see
that (future stardom). Once he gets under the right coach and the right
eating habits I can see him going very far."