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State track and field: Backes paces area boys on Class A’s first day

Osakis' Jacob Backes goes into his vault during Friday's Class A state meet. Backes finished eighth in the event after clearing 12 feet, 6 inches. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)1 / 4
Osakis senior Jeran Baker throws during Friday's Class A state shot put. Baker finished 11th in the event with a throw of 48-05.5. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)2 / 4
Minnewaska's Sam Nyquist anchors the Lakers' 4x200-meter relay team on Friday. Nyquist joined Nathan Pitzen, Nolan Weisel and Jackson Meyer in taking fourth in the prelims to qualify for the finals after a time of 1:32.64. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)3 / 4
Osakis senior Philip Mathews (left) runs in the 100-meter dash during Friday's Class A state prelims at Hamline University. Mathews took 11th in the race with a time of 11.45 seconds. (Eric Morken / Echo Press) 4 / 4

All things considered, Osakis’ Jacob Backes put together quite a run in the pole vault this season.

A lower back injury he suffered his freshman year still lingers with him. To the point where he could not train at all the way he wanted to throughout the season.

“It’s set me back quite a bit,” Backes said. “I haven’t been able to train at all this track season. Came in and jumped four meets before this meet, so still grateful to be here. Big picture, I’m really glad to be here.”

A lingering injury and little practice still did not keep Backes from finishing on the podium at the Class A state meet on Friday at Hamline University in St. Paul. The junior came in with a seed time of 13 feet, tied for third best in the 16-man field. He ended up eighth overall as he cleared 12 feet, 6 inches.

“Not the way I wanted,” Backes said. “Last week I had a couple good jumps way up there and imagined doing it here at state. It just didn’t happen the way I wanted it to.”

Max Giza of Staples-Motley won the pole vault state title by seven inches after clearing 14-06. Backes had visions of getting closer to 14 feet on Friday, but pole vaulting is a day-to-day event.

“You could be doing your PR at one meet and your lowest height all season the next meet,” Backes said. “It varies more than most events in track and field.”

Coming up a bit short of the goals he set for himself has left Backes motivated to get back to Hamline again next season to make another run at the podium.

“It motivates me a ton,” he said. “I’m going to try super hard to do some training this summer. I can’t do too much (because of the injury), but I’ll try my best.”

Baker takes 11th in shot

Osakis senior Jeran Baker made his first season in track and field count as he wrapped up the spring by taking 11th in the shot put.

Baker came into the day with a 47-02 seed throw. He eclipsed that by more than a foot, throwing a 48-05.5.

Class A features some of the best throwers in the state regardless of class. Samuel Moore of Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale missed a state record by five inches as he won with a toss of 62-03.5. He needed every bit of that after Mitchell Weber of St. Clair threw 61 feet on his final throw to take a brief lead in the event.

“It was crazy,” Moore said. “After Mitch Weber threw his great throw, I did not expect to win. I was hoping and praying for a miracle, and I got one. I haven't thrown over 60 feet since the beginning of the season. To come here and throw three over 60 and finish five inches off the state record for single A is insane.”

Osakis in the prelims

The Osakis 4x100 prelim team of Luke Goodwin, Backes, Colton Waldvogel and Philip Mathews just missed qualifying for the finals during Friday’s prelims.

They ran a time of 45.01 to take 10th. Pierz was right in front of them in ninth to take the final spot in the finals in a time of 44.52.

Mathews also ran in the individual 100-meter dash as he bested his seed time of 11.68 with a prelims time of 11.45. That left him in 11th place, a little short of qualifying for Saturday’s finals.

Lakers 4x200 makes the finals

The Minnewaska 4x200-meter relay team will run during Saturday’s finals with a chance to finish high on the podium after taking fourth in the prelims.

Nathan Pitzen, Nolan Weisel, Jackson Meyer and Sam Nyquist finished in 1:32.64. The winning team from Wadena-Deer Creek came across in 1:30.44.

The final day of the Class A meet gets going at 3:30 on Saturday back at Hamline University.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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