9-8-23 — Santa Fe Trail Student Becomes Two-Time All-American at AAU Jr. Olympics
Sept. 8, 2023 ~ Over the summer, eighth grade student Jackson Parker of Santa Fe Trail Middle School participated in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympic Games at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he became an All-American for the second time. In the 13-year-old age group, Parker became the national champion in the Boys High Jump (5’7”) and placed third in the Boys 100 M Hurdles (14.40). He also picked up a 13th place finish in the Boys 200 M Hurdles (28.67).
“The entire experience was really fun. So many events happening and so many good athletes,” Parker said. “Coming into the track meet I had the number one jump, so I was expecting to be top eight, but I didn’t think I was going to win it because there were just so many good athletes out there.”
Student-athletes who place in the top eight and get to stand on the podium receive All-American status. Parker achieved that status for the first time when he participated in the 2022 USA Track and Field (USATF) National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, California, where he placed fourth in high jump.
“I was really excited,” Parker said. “I hadn’t been on the podium before.”
Parker runs for an AAU team called the KC Novas, running in events outside of the district, participating in regional meets, and from there national meets. At Santa Fe Trail, he is finishing up his third year in track. Parker also plays football in the fall and basketball in the winter, both for the school.
“I’ve enjoyed Santa Fe Trail,” Parker said. “We have a lot of good coaches out here and we just have a lot of pride with our school.”
Parker credits Olathe Public Schools for providing him with the things he needs to achieve his goals.
“I think what I like the most about the district is all the opportunities we have here,” Parker said. “I’ve had a lot of good teachers help me academically and I’ve had a lot of opportunities with school sports, and it’s just helped the big picture for me of becoming a Division I athlete.”
Next year, he plans to attend Olathe North High School, where he wants to run track, play football and start putting his dream of becoming a Division I athlete into action.