OTTAWA, Ontario --- The quest for Olympic glory continues for Biola Athletics Hall of Famer Natasha (Miller) Jackson. The Canadian track & field star and 23-time NAIA All-American placed second in the heptathlon at the 2014 Pan-American Combined Events Cup/Canadian Nationals over the past weekend.
It was a big leap forward for the multi-event specialist who set some personal-best marks and inched closer to qualifying for the 2016 Canadian Olympic team.
"This was a huge score for me," said Jackson. "It brings me within 70 points of the Olympic standard, which I have two years to attain. This new score definitely keeps me on track."
Jackson finished the day with a combined score of 5,928. This was good enough to put her second overall to some of the toughest Canadian competition.
She placed first in the Pan-American Cup portion of the event by finishing in front of every other international competitor. The international competition included some of the best heptathletes from the United States, Cuba, Paraguay, Mexico, Brazil and more.
Her tally put her just 44 points off the pace of the Canadian leader. The only real room for improvement in her otherwise dominating performance was in the throwing events.
Jackson picked up two individual event wins, and she finished in the top-3 in three of the other five events in the competition. She finished in 17th and 19th in the javelin and shot put, respectively.
She improved her best overall heptathlon score by about 200 points and attained personal-best marks in the 800m (2:13.15), long jump (6.09m) and the 100m hurdles (12:43), while placing first in the final two of those events.
"I have the carding standard, and I only have to get 5,738 one more time this year, which I hope to do at my last meet in Holland," said Jackson.
According to Jackson's personal website, her personal-bests are now better that the target Olympic qualifying goal in four of the seven events.
She has a chance to hit even more of those marks at the end of August when she competes in the Woerden Athletics Combined Events in Woerden, Netherlands.
For more information on Jackson's Olympic quest follow along on her personal website and blog.