Week after week, Chandelic Jackson leads the Florida A&M women’s cross country team with her impressive times. Many students may not recognize Jackson when they see her, but she has made her presence known at meets among competition.
Last week at the Bobby Lang Invitational, Jackson came in at 18:47.45, beating her time of 19:39 at the Florida State Invitational. While Jackson definitely has the lithe physique cross country runner, she does not carry the stereotypical reputation of an athlete.
A native of Detroit, Jackson moved to Dallas, Ga. her sophomore year of high school. Dallas is known for its amusement parks and historical grounds, like Pickett’s Mill Battlefield. Pickett’s Mill is one of the many places where Federal and Civil troops fought the Civil War.
A small town upbringing might have structured Jackson’s humble personality. Head coach Darlene Moore said Jackson is an asset to the team.
“She’s a quiet young lady that doesn’t do a lot of talking, but she is a hard worker,” Moore said. “Chandelic is always positive with a team-oriented attitude. She pushes all the girls to work hard at practice and she contributes her success this season to the other girls on the team.”
Even Jackson’s habits in high school contributed the success she has had as a Lady Rattler. Jackson was a honor roll student, an Atlanta track club member and held track and cross country records at her high school, East Paulding High.
Moore said Jackson’s resume impressed her enough to reach out to Jackson early in the recruiting process.
“I recruited Chandelic because I knew she could help me in rebuilding the cross country program here at FAMU, along with being one of the top mid-distance/distance runners in the MEAC,” Moore said. “I knew that she would bring positive notoriety to the university and the program.”
Although Jackson has a subtle personality, she has a more eccentric hairstyle. Her mo-hawk inspired hair do is an attention-grabber to those who meet her.
Jackson admitted that although her hair selection is important, her taste in food is more awkward.
“When people ask what my favorite food is, I tell them okra,” Jackson said. “I get these side looks like ‘what?’ It’s always funny. A vegetable is not typically anyone’s favorite choice between anything.”
What other people think is odd, Jackson has no problem accepting. During the 5 a.m. conditioning practices, Jackson said she reminisces on how enthusiastic Moore was about the university when she recruited Jackson.
“She called me up one day and told me great things about the school and what kind of program she was about to bring together. It seemed like an opportunity of a lifetime and was something I would love to be a part of,” Jackson said. “After a visit, I was sure FAMU was the place for me. It was in Florida, where I always wanted to live. I enjoy it today as much as I did back then.”