ST. GEORGE — Darcy Jackson is your everyday student-athlete at Snow Canyon, but she’s also taking on some undeniably incredible circumstances.
The junior dual-sport athlete, playing both volleyball and track, had just run the fastest 100-meter hurdle in the state when she came down with flu-like symptoms.
At first, they thought it was just a head cold or the flu, but her symptoms got worse. This was right in the middle of the track season, and it had a major impact on her year. But Jackson persevered, and ran almost the exact same time in the state finals, earning her a second place finish in the Class 4A finals.
Jackson was later diagnosed with lupus, and she has since been receiving small doses of chemotherapy to treat her condition.
Her diagnosis came in August, just as volleyball season was starting. The two-sport athlete continued to attend practices throughout the season while receiving chemotherapy treatment.
The Warriors finished the year as the co-region champions, ending their region season on a high note before losing early in the state tournament. After an eventful volleyball season, Jackson has begun preparing for the track and field season. She’s looking to follow up a great season with an even better one. The Warriors track team will start lifting weights and running in December.
Snow Canyon track head coach Justin Redfearn said Jackson was humble while talking about her track accomplishments. The junior is currently being looked at by multiple in-state colleges as well as some out of state, including Kanas and the Naval academy, to compete collegiately.
“She’s an elite hurdler,” Redfearn said. “She was number one in the whole state regardless of classification for most of the year until she got sick, and it was midseason. She was the fastest hurdler and would have been the fastest hurdler had she not had the illness.”
Regardless of her condition, Jackson had an incredible season. She stays busy, and between playing two sports, being a student, getting treatment for lupus and spending time with her family, Jackson does have some trouble balancing it all.
“It’s a little rough sometimes because I have to keep myself motivated to do my school work and get out of bed some mornings,” Jackson said. “The team has just been the most supportive, and my friends and family, and I couldn’t have done it without them because they’re always there helping me move forward.”
When asked about her hobbies or passions outside of school and athletics, Jackson chuckled and said she didn’t have time for any.
“I really enjoy hanging out with my friends and my family,” Jackson said. “Just focusing on building strong relationships with the people I love, that’s important to me.”
While generally having an infectious, optimistic, attitude, Jackson did admit that it is not always easy to keep the positivity up.
“Some days its harder than others because my body is going through so much,” Jackson said. “I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want to make an appearance, but I know that it’s important that I do because then I’m pushing myself. It’s easy to stay positive when you look for the small things.”
Jackson urges people to look for the small positives in everyday life. Her advice to those going through hard times is to set small goals throughout the day, trying to achieve them all.
She had one overwhelming message.
“Just stay positive,” Jackson said. “And it’s okay to ask for help. It is okay to ask for help. I think that is important.”
Jackson said she doesn’t want to be defined by her illness. Rather, she wants people to see her as a star track athlete and a great volleyball player who is overcoming some extraordinary circumstances.
Redfearn spoke highly of Jackson’s work ethic and her desire to get better. He said sometimes she has too much fun and he has to reel her back in. Her work ethic was truly shown when she first began to learn the hurdles. Just two months after learning, Jackson made the state finals.
“I can’t begin to tell you how inspiring it’s been to talk with her, to work with her, it’s been amazing,” Redfearn said. “It’s absolutely amazing to see how she’s handled this. I’ve never come across somebody so positive dealing with something of this nature. We learn throughout our lives, and we have people that come into our lives that teach us things and it’s amazing. She’s pretty incredible.”
Redfearn actually likened the hurdles to her life. Sometimes when hurdling, you fall down, but you get back up and keep pushing. Jackson even joked that in her life, she is currently dealing with a men’s hurdle instead of a women’s hurdle, which is a little bit higher. With a little bit more “training,” Jackson will be able to clear the hurdle that life has thrown at her, and she won’t not stop until she does.
“She’s got a good perspective on things,” Redfearn said. “She’s quite mature for someone who’s having to deal with this at a young age.”
Jackson’s story is not over yet, as she begins to prepare for the next track season. Be on the lookout for her this season as she looks to make her mark on both the region and the state. With her positive attitude and an amazing support system, the sky is the limit for the talented student-athlete.
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