St. Croix Lutheran's Tollefson hurdling to be the best

  • Article by: BRYCE EVANS , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 24, 2014 - 4:54 PM

St. Croix Lutheran’s Jon Tollefson, a two-time state champion, has lost only once this year.

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St. Croix Lutheran’s Jon Tollefson, shown winning the 110-meter hurdles in the Hamline Elite track meet in April, has the best 110 time in the state this year at 14.19 seconds.

Photo: DAVID JOLES • djoles@startribune.com,

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Track and field can be a humbling sport, St. Croix Lutheran coach Brent Schacht said.

In events often decided by tenths of seconds and fractions of inches, a clipped gate or bobbled baton can be the difference between winning and losing.

That’s what makes it hard for Schacht to explain the two-year run that St. Croix Lutheran junior Jon Tollefson is enjoying.

“Anything can happen in track and field,” Schacht said, “but what Jon’s done has been pretty amazing.”

A double state champion in hurdles as a sophomore, Tollefson has won all but one race this season. He is unbeaten against Class 2A runners.

He ran a personal-best 14.19 seconds — the best time in the state this spring — in the 110-meter hurdles at the Class 2A True Team state meet May 17. He also won the 300-meter hurdles that day.

“He’s the best hurdler we’ve ever had here, and probably the best I’ve seen as a sophomore or junior,” said Schacht, who has coached at St. Croix Lutheran since 1993.

A natural fit

Tollefson chalks up his success to genetics — long legs and a lanky, 6-3 frame — and God-given ability.

“Just sort of lucky, I guess,” he said.

Schacht remembers standing with team seniors two years ago, marveling at how easily Tollefson — then a freshman — took to the hurdles.

“Usually with hurdles, it takes a while to develop some form with it,” Schacht said, “but he just took to it naturally. You don’t see that often.”

Tollefson finished sixth at state in the 110 meters as a ninth-grader.

His talent is honed by practice focused on improving every day, Schacht said, something he also carries over into his schoolwork. Tollefson is a National Honor Society student and a peer tutor.

He’s not one to rest on his laurels, the coach said.

“I just try to think long-term about it,” said Tollefson, who wants to run Division I track in college. “Get better every day. ”

Humble and hungry

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