By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
MANKATO — Mankato East’s Cody Lorentz admits he caved into a little peer pressure in the spring of his sophomore year,
He had just finished playing football in the fall and wrestling during the winter and decided not to go out for baseball again. But when his friends started lobbying him to go out for the track and field team, he relented.
“It didn’t take a lot of convincing,” said Lorentz, who is now a senior. “I wasn’t doing anything anyway. My friends said it would be fun and it turned out they were right.”
Lorentz is now in his final sports season for the Cougars. His specialties for the track and field team are the 200 and 400 sprints, the triple jump and the shot put. One of his goals is to set personal bests in his two field events.
“I’d like to get over the 40-foot mark in the triple jump,” he said. “And I’d like to throw over 40 feet in the shot put, too. I’m about four inches off in both of them so I think it can be done.”
East head coach Jon Dierks says Lorentz is a quick learner. He never even started working out in the shot put until the end of last year and now he’s ready to contribute.
“It doesn’t surprise me that he’s picked it up so quickly,” said Dierks, who also coached Lorentz in wrestling. “He’s a good athlete and he’s a star in the weight room, too.”
Lorentz is an avid hunter and fisherman when he’s not involved in organized sports and that was a factor when it came time for him to pick a college.
“I’m going to Bemidji State,” he said. “I won’t go out for any sports. I’ll just concentrate on academics. I hope to major in criminal justice.
“There’s a lot of wooded areas up there not far from the campus. I’m sure I’ll enjoy myself exploring them.”
The Cougars lost a lot of good seniors to graduation from last season but Dierks believes has has some talented newcomers coming up to replace them.
He expects the pole vault and the throws to be two of the team’s strongest events.
“Judging by what we did in our first meet, it looks like we might have some good, young sprinters, too,” he said. “It may take some time to figure out who fits where, but I think our depth is looking a lot better.”
The Cougars had their second meet Thursday and finished first with 162.5 team points. Blue Earth Area was second (97), Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial/Nicollet was third (45), Waterville-Elysian-Morristown took fourth (16.5) and Southwest United was fifth (4).
The Cougars opened the meet by winning the 4x800-meter relay. Sam Rykhus, Isaiah Warning, Micah Warning and Brad Kunz combined for a time of 9:14.
East’s 4x200 relay also finished first as Ben Schwartz, Calvin Deike, Lorentz and Neil Nienaber delivered a time of 1:39.21. The Cougars 4x4 relay of Lorentz, Nienaber, Noah Miller and Nic Seiler won in 3:47.64.
Gabe Eichberger garnered a first for the Cougars in the 400 meters (1:00.12), Caleb Paarmann did the same in the pole vault (12-feet-6), Kunz won the open 800 (2:15.13), Tony Nelson took the 3,200 meters (12:07) and Nate Lingbeck captured the shot put (45-feet-1).
Blue Earth Area’s Brandon Olson won the 55 high hurdles in 8.84 and followed that up by winning the 55-meter dash in 6.92. His brother, Taylor Olson, won the long jump at 19-feet even.
Bailey Olson also had a first for BEA, winning the 200-meter dash in 24.66. Nick Shure won the triple jump for the Bucs at 38-feet-9.25.
John Roth of LCWMN was the 1,600-meter winner in 5:08. Teammate Lucas Hesser won the high jump at 5-feet-10.