Section 1AA, 1A boys track and field preview: Backer a sprinter to watch

Southeastern Minnesota is brimming with boys track and field standouts, with Chatfield sprinter Sam Backer near the top.

From left, Chatfield's Sam Backer, Pine Island's Jarod White and Plainview-Elgin-Millville's Kyler Bade run in the 200-meter dash during the state Class A boys track and field meet Friday, June 18, 2021, at St. Michael-Albertville High School in St. Michael.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin file photo
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Sam Backer, Chatfield, junior: Backer is best known as a star quarterback/running back. But one of the traits allowing him to be so good in football is his breakaway speed. Backer was the section champion in the 100 (11.10) and third in the 200 (22.59) last year. Backer went on to finish fifth at state in the 100 (11.18) and eighth in the 200 (22.96).

Pine Island's Jarod White vaulted 15-feet, 10-inches in the Subsection 4A boys track and field meet last season in Pine Island. Then he went on to clear 16 feet to win the Section 1A title at Triton. That was just 1 3/4 inches from the Minnesota record.
Contributed / Jerry Olson file photo

Jarod White, Pine Island, senior: White already goes down as the best pole vaulter ever in southeastern Minnesota and isn’t far from being the best ever in the entire state. He cleared 15-feet-9 at state, which was a meet record, for either class. The Minnesota all-time record is 16-1 3/4. In the section meet, White sailed 16 feet. The senior is more than a pole vaulter, though. He was also second in the 200 (11.27) and the 200 (22.43) in the section meet.

Lanesboro/Fillmore Central's Jayce Kiehne runs in the 800-meter run during the state Class A boys track and field meet Friday, June 18, 2021, at St. Michael-Albertville High School in St. Michael.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin file photo

Jayce Kiehne, Lanesboro/Fillmore Central/Mabel-Canton, sophomore: Kiehne is a definite up-and-comer. Last year, he came up with a 1:59.62 time in the section meet to finish second. He’s just a sophomore.

Turlington Lourdes 1600.jpg
Rochester Lourdes' Kevin Turlington, right, edged past Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland/Southland's Garrison Hubka to win the 1,600 in the Section 1A track and field meet at Triton High School, Thursday June 10, 2021.
Contributed / Jerry Olson file photo

Kevin Turlington, Lourdes, senior: Turlington is likely the top distance runner in Section 1A now, though Lake City junior Reese Anderson is close. Turlington won the section 1,600 title last year (4:36.59) and was second in the 3,200 (10:09.69), behind Anderson (10:05.36). But if the barometer is cross country, then Lewiston-Altura senior Tyler Rislov is the one. Rislov was a Section 1A-best sixth at state in cross country.

Triton Lanesboro 300 hurdles.jpg
Triton's Owen Petersohn, left, and Lanesboro/Fillmore Central/Mabel-Canton's JT Rein had a fantastic finish in the 300 hurdles at the Section 1A track and field meet at Triton High School, Thursday June 10, 2021. Rein won in 40.67. Petersohn was timed in 40.77.
Contributed / Jerry Olson file photo

Owen Petersohn, Triton, senior: When it comes to hurdles, look out for Petersohn, who was fourth at state in the 110 hurdles (15.74) and fifth in the 300s (40.99). Also look out for Lanesboro/Fillmore Central/Mabel-Canton’s JT Rein in both hurdles events. The senior won the 300’s at the section meet last year (40.67).


Lake City's Matthew DeMars runs in the 4x400-meter relay during the state Class A boys track and field meet Friday, June 18, 2021, at St. Michael-Albertville High School in St. Michael.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin file photo

Matthew DeMars, Lake City, junior: DeMars is a solid sprinter. But he’s more than solid in the long jump, where he went 21-8 to win the section meet last year.

Laden Nerison, Kenyon-Wanamingo, senior: There aren’t many better all-around athletes than Nerison in southeastern Minnesota. Among his sports is track and field, where he won the section triple jump title last year with a 42-5 1/2 clearance. He was also fourth in the long jump.

St. Charles' Jett Thoreson competes in the boys triple jump during a track and field meet Friday, May 7, 2021, in St. Charles. Athletes from Lourdes, Lake City, Schaeffer Academy, Lanesboro/Fillmore Central and St. Charles competed in the event.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin file photo

Jett Thoreson, St. Charles, senior: Thoreson isn’t Pine Island’s White when it comes to the pole vault. But he’s still one of the best in the state. Thoreson cleared an excellent 13-7 last year in landing second at sections. That would have been good enough to win it most years.

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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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