Addison Thein – Photos and Video, Hope Mueller – Graphic and Video, Valerie Ostvig – Article
After racing the mile at 4:56, Freshman Jonathan Eastlund scored a personal best, beating his previous score of 4:58. Eastlund, a varsity runner, typically runs the 800 meter and the mile, his most recent time on the 800 being 2:10. Eastlund’s improvements resulted from strenuous practices and vigilant coaches.
“Workouts are tough,” said Eastlund. “Knutson is pretty hard on us, but he cares. He knows what he’s doing to make us better.”
Eastlund puts his efforts at practice to the test at meets. Even with his experiences competing in soccer, Eastlund still finds starting a race challenging.
“I do get nervous before races–I get this feeling in my stomach,” said Eastlund. “You always have a time goal that you want to get.”
In order to cope, Eastlund has developed different methods to calm his nerves before and during a race. Before he runs, Eastlund makes himself yawn, a method that releases calming endorphins. While he runs, Eastlund likes to think of different songs, particularly techno. In addition to these tricks, Eastlund drives himself to do well with a competitive attitude.
“The best feeling is when you’re in a race and you see someone that’s just about where you are,” said Eastlund. “You just want to beat them. It’s a pretty good feeling when you do.”
Eastlund hopes to continue doing well and help the team win the Mississippi 8 Conference Championship for the ninth year in a row. He has found mentors to look up to and model himself after to complete this goal.
“[I look up to] Dan Pettit and Bo,” said Eastlund. “They’re pretty fast, and they never complain. I want to be like Dan when I am his age.”
Eastlund’s coaches support him as he makes an effort to attain his goal. Although Eastlund hasn’t yet thought about a college career in running, he has the rest of his high school career to continue to improve.
“John’s a rockstar for a freshman,” said Long Distance Assistant Coach Rachel Busch. ”He has a lot of potential and he will have a lot of fun tapping into that his next three years.”