SHABBONA – Coming into this track season, Indian Creek’s Jake Gullstrand has set his goals high, and for good reason.
As a junior, Gullstrand, advanced to the IHSA state finals with a second-place finish at the Class 1A Seneca Sectional in the 400-meter dash. He followed that by advancing to the finals with a time of 50.87 seconds in the preliminaries, ultimately finishing seventh in the finals.
This season the senior is striving for much more.
“In my goals, I see myself at the top spot,” Gullstrand said. “You have to put yourself there, if you see yourself lower, you’re going to end up short of your goal. I just want to push myself as far as I can go. I want to win state, that’s my goal.”
Timberwolves coach Dane Bell feels his top sprinter has all the tools to make that goal a reality. He feels that with a few adjustments, the sky is the limit.
“We’d certainly like to get him back to the state finals and one key will be for him to stay healthy,” Bell said. “Last year, he spent a lot of time on his strength to have strong finishes. That is a huge key in the 400, not fading at the end.”
Another goal for Gullstrand, who holds the school record in the 200 meters, would be breaking the 18-year old Indian Creek bench mark of 49.0 in the 400. He is confident he can do it.
“It will take a lot of hard work and dedication, but I know I can beat that record this year,” Gullstrand said. “I really need to work on my finishing, it’s not the best, but I’m improving.”
Bell is also hoping to see the long-standing record fall this spring.
“He has really been trying to break that 50-second barrier for a long time,” Bell said. “I’m really hoping to see him dip into that upper 49’s range and I feel he’ll get there.”
The Indian Creek coach is also expecting good things out of another senior and has been pleasantly surprised at the performance of a freshman.
“Senior Mitch Lave has been sort of a jack-of-all trades for us in his four years,” said Bell. “He has tried to fill in at whatever event the team needed. Whether it has been sprints, distance, or the long jump, he has really done a great job for us and I’m looking forward to the same this year. Shawn Agler is a sprinter that we haven’t dialed in yet what his best event is yet with only having a couple of meets. He has shown consistency and is a nice solid runner.”