MOREHEAD CITY — Jack Lindstrom has already experienced a couple of wonderful surprises during the first semester of his senior year.
The West Carteret runner helped the cross country team earn an unlikely runner-up finish at the 3A east regional. A month earlier, he was rewarded with an all-state chorus nod.
“I’ve had a lot of unexpected things happen this season,” he said. “It’s been a really good season.”
NCMileSplit projected the Patriots to finish eighth at the regional meet, but when all was said and done, only powerful D.H. Conley finished ahead of them.
“If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that we were going to finish second at regionals, I would have laughed at you,” Lindstrom said. “We came really far as a team and got it together at regionals, and I’m really proud of the team. That is maybe the best I’ve felt after a race. The mood was high for days after that race.”
D.H. Conley took the meet with 46 points. West edged Topsail and Northern Nash by 10 points for second with 143. The Pirates and Knights each posted 153 points, followed in fifth place by Coastal Conference champion White Oak with 166.
White Oak had defeated the Patriots by 21 points at the league title meet.
“A lot of things went into our performance at conference,” Lindstrom said. “We weren’t too down about it. I just wish we would’ve run better. It didn’t make us worry more about regionals.”
Lindstrom was in a strange place after the conference meet. He earned the first championship crown of his career and did so with room to spare in a personal-best 16 minutes, 49 seconds. Northside’s Kyle McDermott was the runner-up in 17:10.
“I was excited about my time, but the rest of the team didn’t run like we did at regionals,” he said.
The boys team had qualified for the state meet by finishing in the top five at the regional every year since 2007. This year, however, it wasn’t a given the boys would qualify for the 13th year in a row. Lindstrom made sure that happened by giving the Patriots their top placer in 10th with an all-region time of 16:57.
“That was kind of another weird day because I was the only one on the team that didn’t run a PR,” he said. “I was confident we had it in us. I knew that we could do it, but it’s amazing the progress we made. It was really cool to watch everyone figure out how to deal with the pain and hardship that is training. Everyday after school, from 3-5, grinding it out. I think it all came together really nicely.”
Lindstrom said a full summer of workouts made the difference for him. He didn’t work out during the summer before his junior year after moving from Germany where his father, a U.S. Marine, was stationed.
“Having the base of the summer is huge,” he said.
A typical military kid, he’s known his share of moves, figuring he’s in double digits by now with multiple stops in California, Virginia, Florida and North Carolina.
He comes from a musical family – his great-grandfather, who is 98, was in a barbershop quartet – and has spent many of his school years in chorus.
“I’ve been in chorus since fourth grade,” he said. “I’m not sure I even wanted to do it. My mom, who has a gorgeous voice, made me do it. Then later, I started enjoying it.”
Those years of training and his natural talent paid off last month when he earned an all-state chorus spot as the sixth base. In a case of bad timing, however, the all-state chorus event was scheduled on the same day as the cross country state meet.
“Unfortunately, I had to chose between the two best things to happen to me this year,” he said. “That was painful. I thought it was going to be perfect, because they were just 15 minutes away from each other.”
Ultimately, he rode up with his West cross country teammates on the bus but chose to attend the all-state chorus event.
“It never occurred to me that there would be a conflict because I was not expecting to get in,” he said. “I was just doing it to learn the music, get an honor credit for the course, but I got in. It was crazy. I had no clue how that was going to turn out. It was frustrating when I got up there and was rehearsing, knowing my teammates were running. But I think everything happens for a reason, so it turned out fine.”
In addition to both a smooth stride and voice, Lindstrom also has a good head on his shoulders. He sports a 4.35 GPA and ranks 15th in his class. He hopes to attend UNC-Chapel Hill or Boston University in the fall and major in pre-med.
“I thought I would go into the performing arts and was really gearing toward that, but I figured that is probably not smart,” he said. “It is really hard to make money that way. It’s cool to chase your dreams, but it’s good to have a backup.”
Here are a few of Lindstrom’s favorite things, as well as his ideal groups with which to eat dinner and survive a zombie apocalypse and the five items he would take with him on a deserted island:
Favorite Movie: “Sleepless in Seattle.”
Favorite TV Show: “Friday Night Lights.”
Favorite Cartoon: “The Amazing World of Gumball.”
Favorite Band/Artist: Ray Charles.
Favorite Song: “Lithium” by Nirvana.
Favorite Book: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom.
Favorite Team: Oklahoma City Thunder.
Favorite Athlete: Craig Engels.
Favorite Vacation: Terenten, Italy, to see the cows come home.
Favorite Hobby: Piano.
Favorite Subject: English literature.
Favorite Quote: “Come on, Jack, you gotta go!” – Coach Marshall Windsor during literally any race.
Favorite Food: Peanut butter pasta with sausage.
Favorite Drink: Carbonated water.
Favorite Restaurant: Chipotle.
Favorite Season: Winter.
Favorite Sports Memory: Winning the regional 3,200-meter relay last year.
Favorite Teacher: Ms. Pittman.
Favorite Sport: Basketball.
Favorite Pre-Game/Post-Game Ritual: Eating.
Favorite Website/App: Life 360.
Favorite Follow on Twitter/Instagram: RuPaul.
Ideal Dinner Guest List: Ray Charles, Jenna Reiter, Craig Engels, Mitch Albom and Lizzo.
Ideal Group To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse: Jenna Reiter, Nate Westbrook, Ariana Wolkerstorfer, Chase Morrow, Danny Matagolai and coach Joanna Miller.
Items For A Deserted Island: Huge speaker, iPod, towel, sword, year’s supply of Subway combo meals.