On Saturday, Nov. 9, two local track and field athletes will be recognized for their accomplishments in sports and life.
A ceremony will be held at Heritage Square at 11 a.m. to honor World Champion and 2020 Olympic hopeful Fred Kerley and All-American athlete Mark Jackson.
Jackson is a 2010 graduate of Taylor High School. He attended the University of Texas and the University of Texas at El Paso, where he garnered national attention for his prowess in track & field events. He earned the U.S. Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association All-American distinction in 2013 for the triple jump.
Jackson said he has worked hard for this moment and is glad to be recognized.
"It makes me feel excited," he said about receiving the award. "I worked hard to be able to represent my family in a good way."
While he is being recognized, Jackson said it's not all about him.
"I always want to motivate the ones coming after, and make the ones who came before me proud," he said.
Over the past few years, Jackson returned to Taylor and has been active with camps, training athletes and other programs. He said this is how he pays back to his hometown.
"I wouldn't have made it out of the community if I didn't have people in the community helping me along the way," he said.
Jackson hopes to continue making an impact in the community.
"My goal is to keep doing all that I can do to help the youth," he said. "That way they can be in a better situation so they can go off and spread their wings and see the world and live life."
Kerley is a 2013 graduate of Taylor High School. He attended South Plains College and Texas A&M University, where he excelled at the 400 M event in track and field.
Kerley has won numerous US and international championship events, including the 2019 Diamond League World Championships in 2018. He set his personal best (43.64 seconds) at the 400 M event at the 2019 USA Championships, making him the eighth fastest man in history for that event. He specializes in the 400 M for Nike, and is expected to do well at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at the University of Oregon in June, 2020.
Councilman Gerald Anderson will read a proclamation recognizing Jackson, and Mayor Brandt Rydell will present Kerley with the key to the city.
Kerley will stay afterwards to sign autographs and pose for photographs with fans.