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The Scarlet & Black

Spotlight: Jake Lindstrom

Jake+Lindstrom.+Photo+by+Eric+Mistry.
Jake Lindstrom. Photo by Eric Mistry.

Hailing from San Francisco, Jake Lindstrom ’14 has been an important contributor for the track and field team in his four-year career. Most recently, he jumped 13’ 3 ½” to win the pole vault event at the Central College Open last Wednesday, April 23. Lindstrom will look to continue his consistency as he closes out his final season.

Jake Lindstrom. Photo by Eric Mistry.
Jake Lindstrom. Photo by Eric Mistry.

As a pole vaulter, how do you explain your event to your friends? What do you do as a pole vaulter?

It’s hard to explain, so YouTube is the best way to go, if they’ve never seen the event. They don’t have pole vault in a fair number of states, including Iowa. So I know some people who are from Iowa, who had never seen pole vaulting until they went to one of our home track meets. You start small and you work your way up. No one starts jumping 15 feet. You start at eight feet, and work your way up.

How did you get started in pole vaulting?

First year of high school, I wanted to do a sport, and I tried out for track. And I saw people pole vaulting, and I said, I want to do that, and somehow they let me do it. I’ve been doing it ever since.

What’s your proudest accomplishment in pole vaulting at Grinnell?

I’m not sure about proudest accomplishment, but last week I jumped a [personal record], I think it was about 14’6”. This is getting into pole vault jargon, but I used two poles I had never used before, but I was feeling really fast that day and it worked out. Fifteen feet is looking pretty good. 

There are a lot of aspects of track and field that are individual. How have you felt being a part of Grinnell’s team?

When we get to meets and there are only a couple of us there, I almost never perform as well as when the whole team’s there. It’s not just me jumping at that point, it’s me jumping with friends and people I know, and I want to do better because of that. Same for training, too. It’s a lot easier to run a workout if there’s someone next to you, pulling you a little faster. I would not be doing as well as I am without the team.

What does it feel to be 13, 14 feet in the air?

You kind of get used to it. I didn’t start jumping 14 the first meet I competed in. I jumped eight feet and now, I’m jumping 14 and a half feet or so. You slowly work your way up, so it’s not a huge change all of the sudden. On the way down, that’s a lot of fun. Once you know you’ve made the bar, you just celebrate on the way down.

Have you found that there’s any good pole vaulting workout music?

It really has to match the rhythm I run. Recently I’ve been listening to some Avicii. There’s a wide range of tastes. 

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