COVID-19 hurdle: Grace Christian track and field standout navigates pandemic’s obstacles

High School

LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (WATE) – Jackson Bostick is an outstanding hurdler.

He started running track for Grace Christian Academy in the fall of 2015 as an eighth grader. During the second or third practice coaches brought out the hurdles and asked if anyone wanted to try them. Bostick volunteered, and the rest was history — collecting multiple school records, All-State accolades and back-to-back state titles in the 300M hurdles.

The track and field standout was gearing up to add yet another state title to his name, hoping to wrap up his GCA career accomplishing that amazing feat but would never get the chance.

COVID-19 turned out to be one hurdle he could not clear.

Not being able to defend his title or run track as a Ram alongside his teammates, has been “tough.”

“The idea of having back-to-back-to-back next to your name… I’m not a huge accomplishment driven person but like that’s just something that would have been neat to have to say yeah I won three state titles.”

Jackson Bostick

Even though the second half of his senior year did not pan out as expected, he is choosing to stay positive by taking it one day at a time.

“Life is far too short to worry all the time, just have to stay positive and carry on,” Bostick says.

Luckily for the hurdler, his career does not end at Grace, as he signed a track and field scholarship with Carson-Newman University in January — something COVID-19 did not take away.

Now his sights are set on the future, challenged with finding new ways to train at home.

At the beginning of the outbreak when high school spring sports were postponed his family bought hurdles for him to practice with at home, working to stay season-ready in hopes there would be one.

After the TSSAA officially called the spring sports season, the family was glad they made that purchase. The family’s front yard filled with different types of hurdles and equipment so Bostick can safely train at home.

If perfecting hurdles was not already enough, the track athlete is adding another position to his plate: Becoming a decathlete.

Bostick has already started working toward that goal, training with Carson-Newman Assistant Coach Mike Morrison (who also had a hand in recruiting him). Due to coronavirus concerns, the facility they were training at is temporarily closed — Bostick now does them at home to avoid losing any strength or skills he gained.

Preparing to be a decathlete, for Bostick, involves a lot of core exercises to build core strength for pole vaulting and running distance to build up his endurance for the 1500M race.

To build up his core strength, the 19-year-old uses his split staircase as an assist to hang and pull his feet up to his chest. When it comes to endurance, he either finds new trails to run on or runs for 30 minutes straight around his neighborhood.

Bostick loves his sport and is very passionate about it.

His senior season getting canceled was tough, but not earth-shattering as he knew he has another four years of running ahead of him.

For the people who were planning to try track and field for the first time, and may now be discouraged after the cancellation of the season, Bostick has one parting message for them: “Don’t give up.”

“I just want them to stay motivated, don’t just give up because you didn’t get to run the one year,” the former Ram says, “track isn’t a sport you should just give up on so quick.”

As he starts to put his high school track years behind him, the one accomplishment Bostick values the most is the friends he made; not the school records or state titles, but the friends he made at Grace that have supported him — the ones that he can call anytime to talk about anything, “it’s like the greatest thing I could have ever asked for,” Bostick humbly says.

As he continues to prepare to run as an Eagle, for a university that “feels like home,” his passion and love for the sport is what pushes him to work through this challenging time.

“I love track so much, when you love something so much you’re going to keep doing it. Nothing is going to stop you. Stuff will get in your way, but it’s like a hurdle; you just have to clear it and keep going.”

Jackson Bostick

And as a true athlete and natural competitor, he goals set that he wants to achieve at Carson-Newman including making junior nationals by freshman or sophomore year, All-Conference and All-American, an NCAA champion and if he’s “really feeling it” when the next Olympics comes around he “might try and go for that.”

Don’t give up.

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