Rochester boys track and field preview: Mayo, Century strong again; JM climbing in numbers

Mayo was the Big Nine Conference boys track-and-field champion last year. This year, the Spartans look to repeat. Century will also be strong again.

John Marshall's Michael Nicometo runs in the 200-meter dash during the state Class AA boys track and field meet Saturday, June 19, 2021, at St. Michael-Albertville High School in St. Michael.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin file photo
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Century's Nathan Nelson competes in the pole vault during the state Class AA boys track and field meet Saturday, June 19, 2021, at St. Michael-Albertville High School in St. Michael.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin file photo


Head coach: Kyle Riggott. Assistant coaches: Brandon Stanek, Luke Fisher, Alex O’Connell, Michael Allen, Paul Callahan, Ben Irons, Ray Ashworth, Casey Neumann, Riley Leif.

Last year: Century finished third in the Big Nine Conference meet. State qualifiers were Nathan Nelson (pole vault, third at state), the 4x800 relay team of Tyler White, Seth Hill, Ryan Horton, Silas Green (fourth at state) and Isaiah Huber (100 meters, 10th at state).

Top returners: Nathan Nelson, Jr. pole vault (14-feet-3, third at state); John Amusan, Sr., hurdles (15.38 in 100 hurdles, 4th in section meet); Tyler White, Sr., sprints/middle distance (52.19 in 400, 2:05.16 in 800); Damian Gerads, Sr., hurdles (42.94 in 300 hurdles); Luke Attlelssey, Sr., sprints (53.38 in 400).

Outlook: The Century boys track-and-field program has been one of the stronger ones in the state for years. It looks like that will continue this season, led by pole vaulter Nathan Nelson, hurdler John Amusan and sprinter/middle distance runner Tyler White. This Century team is younger than it’s been, but is still an extremely competitive group, according to coach Kyle Riggott.


Coach Riggott says: “Our program is returning some incredible young men with tremendous leadership qualities and ambitions to be successful. They have done well this off-season in preparation and are excited to put their best on the track.”

From left, John Marshall's Keondre Bryant, Century's Isaiah Huber and Mayo's Demonte Simmons run in the boys 100-meter dash during the All-City track and field meet Thursday, May 13, 2021, at Century High School in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin file photo


Head coach: Michael Sonnabend. Assistant coaches: Dan Feda, Justin Rein, Sam Sonnabend.

Last year: JM finished eighth in the Big Nine meet. It had some outstanding individual performers, led by sprinters Michael Nicometo (200, section champion and 11th at state; 100, 4th at section meet); Keondre Bryant (100, 6th at section meet); Sam Sonnabend (pole vault, 3rd at section meet).

Top returners: Michael Nicometo, Jr., sprints (22.22 in 200, 1st in section meet; 11.12 in 100, 4th in section meet); Keondre Bryant, Jr., sprints (11.32 in 100, 6th in section meet); Garrett Eick, Sr., distance (qualified for state cross country meet in the fall).

Outlook: After a drop in participation numbers the previous two years, JM has gone the other direction this season. The Rockets have 112 boys out for track and field, one of their biggest totals in years. It is a young team, with the freshman and sophomore classes the biggest ones. Among that group are some promising sprinters. JM has two proven sprinting stars in juniors Michael Nicometo and Keondre Bryant. Garrett Eick is the best of the distance runners and was a state cross country meet qualifier in the fall. The biggest participation spike in terms of an event for JM has happened in the throws.

Coach Sonnanbend says: “Overall, we look to improve our placement in the conference and section. If some newcomers can step up and challenge for varsity spots, this will be an exciting season. Cracking the top of the conference will be challenging and the section is ridiculously tough, but we are excited to see what we can do.”

Mayo's Spencer Pearson competes in the triple jump during the state Class AA boys track and field meet Saturday, June 19, 2021, at St. Michael-Albertville High School in St. Michael.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin file photo



Head coach: Donny Holcomb. Assistant coaches: Cory Urban, Jered Smiley, Jeff Schlichter, Bob Sheehan, Matthew Olson, Erica Kahler, Blair Larson, Izzy Waite, Leah Speltz, Breadon Mengis.

Last year: Mayo won every non-state meet it entered except for its first one and the Section 1AA meet, both times finishing second. It was also sixth in the state True Team meet. Noah Smith finished sixth in the 200 at state, Cayden Holcomb was eighth in the pole vault and Spencer Pearson was ninth in the triple jump. Lance Pfrimmer was third in the 1,600 in the section meet. The 4x100 relay combination of Cayden Holcomb, Smith, Carter Holcomb and DeMonte Simmons was second in the section meet and third at state (42.74).

Top returners: Noah Smith, Sr., sprints (22.39 in 200, 6th at state); Cayden Holcomb, Sr., hurdles, sprints/pole vault (13-6 in pole vault, 8th at state); Spencer Pearson, Sr., jumps (41-8 triple jump, 10th at state); Carter Holcomb, hurdles/sprints (41.75 110 hurdles, 2nd in Big Nine meet).

Outlook: The Mayo track-and-field team is bursting with participants, with 170 boys out for the sport. There is plenty of talent there, too, led by sprinter Noah Smith (sixth at state last year in the 200), Cayden Holcomb (eighth at state in the pole vault and one of the state’s better hurdlers and sprinters), Carter Holcomb (one of the state’s better hurdlers and sprinters) and jumper Spencer Pearson (ninth at state last year in the triple jump). Once again, Mayo should also have dynamite sprint relays. The Spartans look to repeat as Big Nine Conference team champions and get back to the state True Team meet where they were sixth last year.

Coach Holcomb says: “We have a great group of returning athletes off of last year’s team and some exciting new faces who have joined the team. We have just about record numbers at 170 total boys who have been working hard, with great attitudes and effort. We’re excited to see the growth of everyone throughout the season.”

Lourdes Turlington 1600.jpg
Lourdes junior Kevin Turlington pushes to the title in the Section 1A 1,600-meters title in 2021 at Triton.
Jerry Olson / Post Bulletin file photo


Head coach: Steve Strickland. Assistant coaches: Pete Gilman, Demonte Nelson, Stacy Fox, Andy Poterucha, Trisha Adamson.

Last year: Kevin Turlington finished 13 at state in the 1,600. He was the section champion in the same race.


Top returners: Kevin Turlington, Sr., distance (1,600, 13th at state; 3,200, 3rd in section meet); Nathan Reneir, Sr., middle distance/relays (3,200, 3rd in section meet; 800, 5th in section meet); Abe Gapinski, Sr., sprints/relays; Matt Mahoney, Sr., sprints/relays; Alex Leary, Sr., sprints/relays; Jack Archbold, Sr., hurdles; Hudson Fix, Jr., sprints/relays.

Outlook: Senior distance runner Kevin Turlington is clearly the one to watch here. One of the top runners in the state, he’ll be looking to get on the podium in the state meet this year. Fellow senior Nathan Reneir is also a top contender in the middle and long-distance races. Both Turlington and Reneir have big goals, according to Lourdes coach Steve Strickland. Lourdes should be strong in sprint relays by the end of the season.

Coach Strickland says: “We have eight seniors on our team this year who have provided great leadership during our first couple of weeks of practice. They really want to improve on the success that they had last year. . .This is the first year of going to three classes, so if we can stay healthy and work hard, we could have some nice results by the end of the season.”

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Pat has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter since 1994. He covers Rochester John Marshall football, as well as a variety of other southeastern Minnesota football teams. Among my other southeastern Minnesota high school beats are girls basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, high school and American Legion baseball, volleyball, University of Minnesota sports (on occasion) and the Timberwolves (on occasion). Readers can reach Pat at 507-285-7723 or
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