St. Croix Lutheran Hurdler Is Breaking Records, Heading To Harvard

Published Date: Friday, April 10, 2015 - 10:45pm

St. Croix Lutheran Hurdler Is Breaking Records, Heading To Harvard

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — How do you become a hurdler?

“You’ll meet a lot of kids at meets that are just like, ‘Ah, my coach threw me in this (laughs),'” St. Croix Lutheran hurdler Jon Tollefson said.

Tollefson’s introduction to the hurdles freshman year was similar to most.

“‘Let’s just throw him in a 300 race,'” Tollefson said.

The result wasn’t. Tollefson won the very first race he ever ran.

“Yeah, it was definitely not the form that you see with Olympians or anything like that (laughs),” Tollefson said. “But I got through the race.”

Not only did he get through it, but later that season, he went to state and took seventh in the 110 meter hurdles.

“He just took to it like he was a natural,” Coach Brent Schacht said.

Sophomore year, Tollefson went back to state and won both the 110 and 300 meter hurdles.

“That seemed like, ‘Aw, there’s nothing bigger than this,'” he said.

But junior year, there was something bigger. Not only did he win both races again, but he broke the Class A record in the 110, a record that had stood since 1996 — the year Tollefson was born.

“I told him this,” Schacht said, “I think he was born to hurdle. He’s that good.”

Now Tollefson has got big plans for his senior year. He looks at them every day.

He doesn’t just have a goal of breaking the all-time 110 state record of 13.85, a record that’s stood since 1981.

He’s got it painted on his bedroom door.

“Yeah (laughs),” Tollefson said. “I write my goals on my door with paint.”

For most, that would be plenty of achievement. But not for Tollefson. He’s also going to Harvard. To study biomedical engineering.

That’s right; one of the best athletes in the entire state is also one of the smartest people.

“It’s still surreal, like, when I got the phone call that I got in, it was kind of, it still didn’t sink in for a couple weeks,” Tollefson said. “It’s still weird to think that in August I’ll be heading out to Boston. You never feel worthy of it, because it’s such a big name. Getting into it, you’re like, ‘Wow, I’m pretty sure there’s some smarter kids out there,’ or something, you know?”

He’ll also run track there. And at his rate, he’ll probably break the world record by Thanksgiving and cure cancer by Christmas.

Simply put, with his high grades and low times, his coach says describing him is pretty simple.

“I think if you look at what you want in a high school athlete, Jon is it,” Schacht said.

Oh, and the first time he ever got less than an A on a report card was this last semester. He got an A-minus.

David McCoy
WCCO Sports

Nick Krueger, Class of 2005, Georgetown University of Foreign Affairs
" Students who graduate from St. Croix have received a very well-rounded education and are prepared to continue learning anywhere. "
- Nick '05