Jostock signs to run at Division I Loyola
Posted on: Mar 3, 2021
A few short years ago, a college running career was hardly on the radar for Grace Jostock. Yet there she was on Thursday, Feb. 25, signing a letter of intent to run Division I cross country and track for Loyola University in Chicago.
“I didn’t think that I would run in college, let alone at Division I, so I am very thankful from the bottom of my heart. I could not have done it without all of you,” Jostock told a crowd of friends, coaches and family members in the Delano High School Commons during her signing ceremony.
DHS Activities Administrator Ryan Tool said that while Jostock was a team-minded athlete, the ceremony shined a well-earned spotlight on her own achievements.
“Grace has had an outstanding career as a Delano Tiger in both cross country and track, and the exciting thing is she has an opportunity to continue that in college,” Tool said. “So we’re excited to recognize that and we want to give her this moment. I know that she’s worked really hard, and she has worked hard to help her teammates, but today we get to focus on her accomplishments here in Delano.”
More to give
At Loyola, Jostock plans to run cross country, track and indoor track as well. Her best track events are the 1,600- or 3,200-meter races, and she also competes in the 4x400 relay at DHS.
When asked if she prefers cross country or track, Jostock said that cross country is her favorite for two reasons.
“I like cross country more because it has much more of a team aspect,” she said. “You’re all running the same event and pushing each other. There is less individuality than you get with track and field. And I like the longer distance too. The longer I go, typically the better I do, so I like the three miles (in cross country).”
Jostock said that as a sophomore she had “no intentions” of pursuing a running career beyond high school, but that feeling shifted during an outstanding junior cross country season that included persistent encouragement from her coaches to explore the next level.
“I just thought it wasn’t for me. I would be happy with two more years, and then I’d be set,” Jostock said. “But then as senior year started to approach I knew I wasn’t ready to be done. I knew I had more to give. I’m so glad I came to that realization, because I couldn’t have predicted not having a spring track season and having my senior year kind of corrupted by this pandemic. So I’m really glad I pursued it.”
After just missing a state cross country berth as a sophomore, Jostock qualified for state as a junior and as a senior.
“My junior cross country year I had a great season and loved it, just had a blast. I knew I wasn’t ready to be done and that one more season wasn’t going to be enough for me,” said Jostock. “My favorite Delano memory was crossing the finish line at sections that year, just because I saw all my hard work coming together. All my early morning runs and all the reasons I got out of bed in the morning, it just made sense. I crossed the finish line and finally achieved that goal of making it to state.
“And it wasn’t so much qualifying for state, but seeing my family and friends at the end. Getting to hug my teammates as they crossed the line. It was a moment for me, but just as much for my teammates and friends. They were just as excited as I was, and that experience was unforgettable.”
Jostock said she toured Loyola last February, just prior to the arrival of COVID-19.
“I was there just before everything shut down, and I’m so glad I was because I wouldn’t have picked a college I hadn’t seen,” Jostock said. “I stepped on campus and the minute I was there I knew it was the right fit for me in terms of everything, both the education aspect and the running aspect.”
The coaching staff was welcoming, and Jostock knew the school was a good fit academically as well. She plans to study business, with possible focuses on human resources or sports marketing.
“I wanted to pick somewhere I would be happy whether I ran or not,” Jostock said. “I had to really take the running out of it and say, ‘Ok, if I get injured my first year and can’t run, am I still going to like it?’ Running is a big aspect, but I also of course want to graduate and have a degree and a job that I love.”
As she approaches the end of her high school career in Delano, Jostock said she wouldn’t change a thing.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better experience,” she said. “I was blessed with the best teammates and coaches and family to have behind me. It didn’t matter if I won the race or took last. It just mattered that I gave it my all and enjoyed the experience, and I truly enjoyed every bit of my high school experience. It’s been so much fun.”
* Jostock is the daughter of Christopher and Jodi Jostock of Delano.
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