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.
SECTION 1A, 1AA
• 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).
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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).
• 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.
• 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.