Player Profile: Houghton Lake’s Jackson Blanchard
HOUGHTON LAKE – Houghton Lake junior Jackson Blanchard is redefining what it means to be a multi-sport athlete.
Blanchard made history this spring when he became the first athlete at Houghton Lake to win multiple MHSAA track and field state championships, winning the 110 and 300 hurdles at the Division 3 state meet on June 3. Blanchard is just the second athlete in school history to medal, joining Ed Fritz, who won the 1955 Class C shot put title.
A regional champion in the 200 dash and the 110 and 300 hurdles and Jack Pine Conference champion in the 110 and 300, Blanchard broke the school’s record in the 300 hurdles, breaking a 29-year-old record set by his dad, Tom Blanchard.
“The state titles I won are an amazing feeling. It means the world to me and to make school history at the same time was awesome,” Blanchard said. “My goals for next year would be to win both titles again, and to beat my 300 hurdles record several more times and beat my dad’s 110 hurdles record.”
In addition to his blossoming track career, Blanchard stars on the school’s golf team and led the Bobcats to a fifth-place finish at last year’s Division 3 state finals.
Blanchard’s athletic endeavors don’t just end on the track or on the golf course, though. In the fall, the rising senior can be found on the gridiron and in the winter, Blanchard plays point guard on Houghton Lake’s varsity basketball program and enjoys ice fishing.
A 2016 JPC First Team selection at safety and Second Team honoree at quarterback, Blanchard helped lead the Bobcats to their first playoff bid since 2009 a year ago.
With more than enough to keep him busy, one might wonder how Blanchard balances his time.
“I balance my schedule by just going to golf practice and not go to track, because golf was my number one sport. I made a commitment to golf over track,” Blanchard said. “Then I go home and do homework in my free time.”
For now, Blanchard is weighing his options for college but leaning towards pursuing track and field and following in his dad’s footsteps.
“The sport I would like to focus on would be the one that helps me and my family out the most with the financial part of it,” Blanchard said. “If I had to pick, it would be track because my dad ran track in college and I want to say I was better than him at it.”