Detroit PAL is proud to have many hard-working and talented athletes that are able to keep focused in sport and in school. One such athlete is Kaila Jackson. If you have been paying attention to the Junior Olympics or youth track over the past few years, you may have heard of her! Kaila is a three-time Junior Olympian, winning silver medals in the 100 & 200 meter dash and setting a new record in the 60 meter dash. She has also won three indoor National Championships in the 60 & 200 meter dash.
For Kaila, these accomplishments only encourage her to work harder and continue to improve. Her coaches have taught her to stay humble and focused and Kaila and her teammates encourage each other to get better every day in practice. Hard work is important for Kaila, especially with the obstacles in her way. “My height has been an obstacle. I normally race against athletes that are much taller than I am,” said Kaila, “As a result, I work harder than my opponents. Running with proper form and technique gives me an advantage.”
Kaila has been a part of the Detroit PAL Track and Field program for four years. Her parents, Anthony and Kimberlee, have noticed positive changes in the athlete since beginning at PAL. “Kaila has become more of a leader and goal oriented since being involved with PAL,” said Anthony Jackson, “She leads by example daily, demonstrating to her teammates that if you are wiling to work hard you can accomplish you goals and see positive results on the track.”
The 6th grader at Grand River Academy has a steady support system at home, as well as at practice. Her parents make sure that school is the number one priority in their family. This takes a lot of time management, but with the dedication Kaila has, it is not a problem. “Education is very important to me,” said Kaila, “I have three hours to get my homework done before practice each day and I use the weekends to study.” The 11-year-old track star hopes to one day become a pediatrician. Although she would love the opportunity to be a professional track athlete, for now she is using track as a vehicle for obtaining funding for college to chase her dreams of being a pediatrician. What a great plan! For this hard-working student-athlete, anything is possible.
Congratulations to Kaila for winning Gold in the 60 and 200 meter dash and setting a new national meet record with a time of 7.96 in the 60 and 26.04 in the 200 at the 2016 Indoor Track National Championships.