The Green Flash
Coming off a Class 1A state 100-meter dash championship, Frazee's speed demon Skyler Jackson made his goals even loftier entering his last high school track and field season -- and he had some major help over the summer to reach them.
It's easy to say that Jackson had one of the best training regimens a prep athlete can have -- three months of U.S. Army basic training.
Jackson took his basic training for the National Guard soon after he crossed the finish line in the state 100-meter dash at Hamline University last June.
By all accounts, Jackson came out of basic training in even better running shape than he was in during his memorable junior year, where he didn't lose a 100-dash event and took third in the 200 dash at state.
He has continued that unbeaten streak through this season, as well.
"I know how hard and how long I can push myself now after basic training," Jackson said. "Also over the winter, when I was training, I just have to remember what I was doing last July 4 when I was running all those miles.
"It's good motivation."
Jackson has had lots of motivation heading into this track and field season.
First, he has his sights set on breaking both the 100 and 200 dash race state records.
Second, he still sees room for improvement in his races -- as scary as that might be for his competition.
Jackson tied the Daggett Invite 100-dash record of 10.7, which is significant since 10.68 is the state record.
His winning time last year in the state meet was 10.94.
The Frazee senior has also taken a cerebral approach to getting better in his short-distant races.
"I read a lot this winter," Jackson said. "I read Asafa Powell's book and that was interesting, since he is the fastest man in the world."
If Jackson's progression continues, don't count out him holding two new state records in the 100 and 200.
In his sophomore year -- which was the last time he didn't finish first in either the 100 or 200 during the regular season -- his goal was to make state.
His junior season, it was to win a state championship.
Next up, his assault on the state record books.
Although confident, Jackson isn't one to get ahead of himself.
He has stayed humble throughout his success and does not show a cocky attitude which could have easily been produced over the last couple of years.
He knows he still needs to get through the sub-sections and Section 8-1A meet.
Staying humble isn't too hard for Jackson, either, who is pushed to the max every day in practice by his senior teammate McKay Galbrecht.
"We go back and forth and we just love being teammates," Jackson said. "McKay is one of the fastest guys in the state and we really push each other hard in practice."
Frazee head coach Brian Tangen, who has coached Jackson and Galbrecht since their seventh grade seasons on varsity, said the duo's competitive spirits show through and is an extra advantage they both carry with them during meets.
"Both are very motivated and they make each other better," Tangen said. "If it wasn't for Skyler, McKay would probably be the best sprinter in the area."
So far this season, Jackson hasn't wandered off that path to making some noise in state.
He has won three MVP honors in meets -- including the Hawley, Detroit Lakes and Wadena-Deer Creek invites -- while excelling in the triple and long jumps, as well as anchoring a tough 4x100 relay team.
But complacency isn't in Jackson's nature.
"I know I can get faster," he said. "I've been working on my form and starts. My starts haven't been all that good. So, yeah, there's room for improvement."
"He can get quicker out of the blocks, which could take some time off his races, because he is such a strong finisher."
And one can't also accuse Jackson of having shortsighted goals, either.
After committing to run for the men's track and field team at Minnesota State University Moorhead next year, he is looking ahead a little towards his Dragon debut season.
"I know coach (Keith) Barnier (MSUM head track coach) won't like reading this one," Jackson said with a wide grin. "But I'm going to go out on a limb and say my goal next year is to win a National Championship in the 4x100 -- that is if I can make the team."
Don't be too surprised if next year at this time, Jackson's prediction comes true.
Because after years of picking off one goal at a time on the fast track, it's hard to bet against the speedy Jackson.