Boys track and field preview
2010 season review:As has so often been the case the last number of years, the Rochester area’s best boys track and field team was Plainview-Elgin-Millville. The Bulldogs easily won the Section 1A meet with a 144-point total. Byron was second with 91. But it was Stewartville, which was third in the section meet, that had the best finish at state, landing in a tie for sixth. Last season’s biggest individual star was Lanesboro/Fillmore Central’s Jordan Jarland, and it wasn’t close. Jarland turned in an awesome senior year, capped by him finishing first at state in the long jump (22-feet-3) and the 300 hurdles (38.76). Two more state highlights from Section 1A in the state meet were Triton’s Dylan Bungum finishing second in the 100 hurdles (15.11) and the Stewartville relay team of Richard Skic, Korey Drees, Rodney Smith and Braden Bentley landing second in 43.90.
2011 season look-ahead:It’s clear, just a couple of weeks into this season, that the most watched event out of Section 1A is going to be the high jump. Stewartville’s Isaac Tapp, who finished third at state last year with a 6-2 jump, has already cleared 6-6 this season. Teammate Will Gisler has already gone 6-3. And Plainview-Elgin-Millville’s Chase Montgomery is sure to be in the mix again. He went 6-3 in the section meet last year. Stewartville and Byron, with a number of excellent athletes on their teams, should challenge P-E-M this season. Byron is led by Taylor King, a sprinter who landed fourth at state in the 100 last year, as well as hurdler Cole Fuchs and shot putter Brady Fuchs.
Byron’s Taylor King came out of nowhere last year to be the best sprinter in Section 1A. King, a senior, was fourth at state in the 100 (11.39). He will be the section favorite this season in the 100. Those who figure to give him a run are Stewartville junior Rodney Smith, who was third in the Section 1A 200 last year (23.03), as well as Pine Island junior Trevor Akason (23.30 in the 200), Caledonia/Spring Grove junior Adam Drenckhahn (11.57 in the 100), and C/SG senior Mitch Reiser (23.35 in the 200).
Reiser is the top 400 runner coming back. He won the section title last year with a 50.96 time. Also highly regarded in the 400 is Cannon Falls senior Demetre Growette (50.98) and Plainview-Elgin-Millville sophomore Nate Evers (53.66).
The section’s best 800 runner of the last two years, Logan Ramer of Kasson-Mantorville, has graduated. So have the next two best at last year’s section met. That opens things up this season for such runners as Byron senior Eric Anderson and Justin Mansfield. Both ran a shade over 2:08 last year. Also in the mix is Chatfield senior Josh Johnson. Ramer finished fifth at state last year in 1:58.91.
There are a couple of star long-distance runners in Section 1A and they figure to have quite the duels this season. Plainview-Elgin-Millville senior Grant Timm won the section 1,600 title last year, with Caledonia/Spring Grove senior Matt Jergenson just behind him. Timm went on to finish fifth at state in the event in 4:25.70. Jergenson had a disappointing 1,600 at state, but was timed in 4:30.47 at sections. Jergenson was fourth at state in the 3,200 (9:35.95). Others to watch from Section 1A in the 1,600 are Byron senior Eric Anderson (4:33.02) and Kasson-Mantorville sophomore Derek Wiebke. In the 3,200, worth watching are Wabasha-Kellogg senior Cullin Shanrock (ninth at state last year; qualified with a 9:45.92) and P-E-M senior Aaron Haley.
Lourdes’ Reed Bjork is the Section 1A favorite in the 100 hurdles. The senior, a standout since his sophomore year, was second in the section race last year in 15.66. Bjork will get plenty of competition from La Crescent’s junior Emerson Ludwig (third in section last year, 15.70). Section 1A graduated its other top two hurdlers from a year ago. In the 300 hurdles, Triton’s Adam Bungum was third best in the area last year, but still qualified for state (40.64). He’ll get competition from Byron’s Cole Fuchs (40.66), who qualified for state last year. Also worth watching in the 300 hurdles is Schaeffer Academy’s Neil Postier. Section 1A had a state champion in the 300 hurdles last year, Jordan Jarland of Lanesboro/Fillmore Central.
LONG JUMP, TRIPLE JUMP
Section 1A graduated one of its all-time best long jumpers, Lanesboro/Fillmore Central’s Jordan Jarland. Jarland won state last year with a 22-feet-3 jump. Now, Medford senior Grant Fitzgerald (20-3 1/2, section runner-up) looks like the favorite. Also strong is La Crescent junior Emerson Ludwig. In the triple jump, Fitzgerald is also the favorite. He was third in the section last year (41-7). Byron senior Brooks Zamzow (41-4 3/4) is also formidable.
Section 1A figures to have two of the best high jumpers in the state in Stewartville senior Isaac Tapp and Plainview-Elgin-Millville junior Chase Montgomery. Both cleared 6-2 at state last year, landing them third and fourth, respectively, with Tapp having fewer misses at that height. Both went 6-3 in the section meet. Tapp has already gone 6-6 this season and sophomore teammate Will Gisler has gone 6-3. Also look out for La Crescent senior Zach Hoppenworth.
SHOT PUT, DISCUS
Section 1A didn’t have its usual number of stud throwers last year. The same may also be true this season. Last year’s best, Triton’s Cody Christian, graduated. The top shot putter this season figures to be Byron junior Brady Fuchs. He tossed it a runner-up 47-10 at last year’s section meet. The other top-four shot putters from the section were seniors. Hayfield senior Hunter Anderson threw it 44-3 last year. In the discus, Anderson was the section champion last year (146-2). Another underclassman, P-E-M junior Tyler Petit, was second (137-3). Also watch for Chatfield’s Mike Schultz (128-1).
Byron’s Aaron Wait won the section pole vault title last year (13-9), then went on to finish fifth at state, with another 13-9 clearance. Wait has graduated, leaving P-E-M juniors Alex Jurgenson and Cole Lubinski to fight things out. Both cleared 13-3 at the section meet.
— Pat Ruff