DELANO – Life works in mysterious ways sometimes. For Delano’s Grace Jostock, had it not been for an early visit to Loyola University back in February, the future would be much different.
Jostock took a recruiting visit to Loyola shortly before the global pandemic began. That visit was key in her decision on where she would continue her track and field career at the collegiate level.
“It was a challenge not having a spring season last year and that greatly impacted the recruiting process,” Jostock said. “Luckily, I visited Loyola University in February right before the pandemic hit, otherwise I likely wouldn’t have chosen Loyola. It was difficult not being able to meet with coaches and tour campus in person. I never expected to be choosing a college during a pandemic.”
While Jostock was considering staying closer to home with a bit of influence from her parents, she chose to create her own path. Jostock’s parents, St. John’s and St. Benedict’s graduates, made that an option for her. She was also looking at St. Thomas.
“I was also strongly considering the University of St. Thomas and the College of St. Benedict,” Jostock said. “My parents are St. John’s and St. Ben’s grads, so I grew up going to Johnnie/Tommie football games and I loved the campus feel. I also really loved St. Thomas and the job connections they have in Minnesota.”
While St. Ben’s and St. Thomas offered a little slice of home to Jostock, the feeling she had on her visit to Loyola was just too much to pass up.
“I ended up choosing Loyola because of their strong academic programs and the student to faculty ratio,” Jostock said. “Loyola’s coaching staff and the team were just what I was looking for. I felt right at home the moment I stepped on the campus back in February and could envision my future there. I also really love the Chicago area.”
Jostock, one of the top athletes and runners for the Tigers the past few seasons, wasn’t sure if this goal would be a reality for her throughout her high school career. Despite that, she wasn’t ready to let it go and worked hard to get where she is today.
“I feel so grateful to be able to continue my athletic career at the college level,” Jostock said. “If you would have told my seventh-grade self that I would be running at an NCAA Division I University, I would have thought you were crazy. Even as a junior, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue running in college, but I just knew that I wasn’t ready to give it up yet and that I had more left to give.”
Throughout Jostock’s journey, there have been many people along the way helping her and inspiring her. Her coaches in high school helped develop a fire inside that still burns to this day.
“I feel so grateful to have had such amazing coaches,” Jostock said. “Amy Rieder and Jackson Lindquist have supported me every step of the way. I cannot thank them enough for taking a sport that I knew nothing about and turning it into my passion. Amy and Jackson have taught me to enjoy every part of the journey and that not all races are perfect. They have changed my life in so many ways and without them, I wouldn’t be that athlete nor the person I am today.”
Also encouraging Jostock along the way are her parents. Whether it was advice or just being there, Jostock knows none of this would be possible without them.
“My parents have been my biggest support system throughout my high school running career,” Jostock said. “My dad hasn’t missed any of my races and preached the importance of hard work from a young age. My mom has been there to cheer me on every step of the way and knows how to brighten my mood after a disappointing race. I cannot thank my parents enough for pushing me to be the best version of myself and preparing me for the next phase of my life.”
While Jostock has her college choice determined, she’ll be looking to enjoy what’s left of her high school athletic career. After not having a season last spring, Jostock will be looking to cherish each moment this spring.
“My goal for the upcoming spring track season is to enjoy every second of it,” Jostock said. “I have spent so many seasons stressing before races and worrying about hitting a specific time, but this season I want to soak it all in. I feel so blessed to be able to compete with my teammates and do what we love together, while also having a blast. I also want to be the best captain that I can be, a leader for our younger girls. I was fortunate to have such great captains who inspired and encouraged me when I was younger and I hope to do the same.”
As Jostock looks to turn to the page later this spring to her collegiate career, she hasn’t forgotten all the memories and relationships she’s made along the way.
“I am so thankful for everyone who has supported and encouraged me throughout my high school running career,” she said. “Running has taught me so much about myself and pushed me in ways I cannot fully comprehend. As a young seventh-grader, I had no idea how much running would mean to me and how big of an impact it would have on my life. I am very fortunate to have had such supportive teammates running alongside me. They have seen me at my best, my worse, and everything in between. They believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. I feel so grateful that my teammates are also some of my closest friends. I will forever cherish our post-race hugs and bus rides.”