LFCMC's Jayce Kiehne makes his last section meet his best one

May 30—DODGE CENTER — Jayce Kiehne has done more in the athletic realm than virtually anyone ever from Fillmore Central.

The 6-foot-3 senior is the school's all-time scoring leader in basketball with 1,400 points. In football, he goes down as his school's top receiver ever, with his 1,846 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns, both Fillmore Central records. He was named to the Minnesota All-Star Game this season and will play football in the fall at Winona State University.

Finally, there is track and field, where he competes for Lanesboro/Fillmore Central/Mabel-Canton. Kiehne has been crushing it since his freshman year. Though he could be a sprinter, with his explosive speed, Kiehne has made the 800 meters his signature event. That's gone exceedingly well. Kiehne finished fifth at state in the 800 as a sophomore with a 1:57.76 time and third last year in 1:56.33.

"That's my favorite race," said Kiehne, who's also his school's record holder in the 1,600 (4:26) and runs sub-50 second 400s. "And I really do enjoy track and field. I've been doing it since I was in elementary school. We are a big track family (older brother Carson Kiehne was a sprint standout for LFCMC and now competes for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)."

Jayce is a lover of track and field who is now ready to add to his high school resume in that sport.

Kiehne made sure of that by advancing to state for the fourth straight year, winning the Section 1, Class 1A 800 title Thursday at Triton. Kiehne was timed in 1:54.66. His prior best had been 1:56.16..

"I felt good the whole time," Kiehne said. "I just wanted to go out there and win it. I'm a little bit surprised at my time, but we've been running a lot of 4x400 splits and I had a good 800 time at subsections."

The 800 won't be his lone event at state. He's also heading there in the 4x400 where he will be joined by teammates Mason Howard, Luke Ruen and Isaac Snyder. They landed second in that race behind Winona Cotter's Elliott Fitzgerald, Brayden Novakoski, Jackson Cada and Luke Gardner (3:214.28) on Thursday. The LFCMC team was timed in 3:26.12.

As well as Kiehne has performed through the years, there is a wondering that he might have been able to do even better. That has nothing to do with his effort, which has been massive. It has to do with injuries. He's had a slew of them, including a broken collar bone four games into his junior football season and hamstring issues last spring that severely limited his training.

Still, Kiehne spends no time feeling sorry for himself about any of that. He's just been thankful for all of the opportunities sports have allowed him. Most of all, he's been appreciative of the people around him.

"I have had a lot of high points," said Kiehne, also a top student and his school's Homecoming King. "But I'd say getting to hang out with friends on my teams has been the best part, making memories with them."

Pine Island's C.J. Tree is going to be one busy guy next week at the state meet. The senior, thanks to a massively productive section meet, is state bound in four events — the 300 hurdles, the 110 hurdles, the triple jump and the pole vault. The latter two spots were earned Tuesday on the first day of the section meet. Tree won the pole vault with a 12-10 clearance and was second in the triple jump.

Thursday, he finished first in the 300 hurdles (40.70) and second in the 110s (15.30). Chris Hilton of St. Charles was the winner in the latter (14.67).

"At the beginning of the season, I really didn't think I'd make it to state at all," said Tree, who's also among the top soccer players in the state. "I wasn't even in the triple jump to begin the season. I sure didn't expect to make it in four events."

Tree considers the 300 hurdles to be his best event. It's also easily the most exhausting one.

All season, he's been helped by his mom, Kris Tree, who stands near the track near the final turn and shouts her encouragement.

"Halfway through that race, things start to suck (because of the length of it," Tree said. "But having my mom there, always yelling for me, that gives me a lot of motivation at the end."

The expected showdown in the high between GMLOKS' Sam Snitker and Triton's Pierce Petersohn didn't disappoint.

Petersohn has gone 6-feet-10, while Snitker has cleared 6-8, both rare feats at the high school level.

Thursday, it was Snitker coming away with the win. He cleared 6-8 again, while Petersohn settled for 6-6.

Snitker, like Petersohn, loves to compete. But in track-and-field, they both agree that it's almost almost never with any animosity. That's sure true when these two go at it.

"That's what's neat about the high jump," he said. "We get along. And we take a lot of pride in the fact that the two best high jumpers in the state are from small schools."

St. Charles' Chris Hilton is considered among the top couple of 110 hurdlers in the state. A year ago, the junior landed second in the state meet in the event with a 14.85 time. On Thursday, he was even better, clocked in a winning time of 14.67.

However, the meet ended with agony for the St. Charles star. That was after he pulled his left hamstring in the opening hurdle of the 300s. That almost certainly removes him from competing at state.

"I felt some tightness in my hamstring before that race started," said a downcast Hilton. "I had a bad feeling I might get hurt there. But there isn't much you can do about it."

It's a crushing way for Hilton to finish.

"It's devastating to me," Hilton said. "I was just so excited to compete today and see what I could do. But, you know, life happens. I'm excited to rebound and come back strong next season."

The Caledonia/Spring Grove sprinters took over Thursday in the section meet. Josh Beardmore led the way, winning the 100 (11.20), and running a leg on the CSG winning 4x100 (43.39) and 4x200 (1:30.44) relay teams.

The 4x100 team consists of Eli Staggemeyer, Gabe Curley, Owen Staggemeyer and Beardmore. The 4x200 team is Eli Staggemeyer, Owen Staggemeyer, Beardmore and Fischer Wait.

Section 1, Class 1A meet results