File photo by Travis Rosenau
Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s Jon Petermann (16) carries the ball for Sleepy Eye United during a playoff football game on Oct. 28, 2023, against Adrian/Ellsworth at St. Mary’s High School.
SLEEPY EYE — After a strong senior year of ground work for the Sleepy Eye United football team last fall, Sleepy Eye St. Marys’ Jon Petermann will be taking his talents to the college field next at Gustavus Adolphus College.
Petermann finished his senior year of football last fall with 925 yards rushing and 10 TDs on 146 carries.
Petermann made his decision late January to continue his football and academic career with the Division III Gusties.
“When I first visited the campus, I really liked the atmosphere and I thought it was a really nice campus,” Petermann said. “Football is my passion. I knew if I ever got the chance to play football [in college], I was going to take it.”
Petermann said Gusties co-defensive coordinator Landon Rauen reached out to him originally with an offer to play running back for the Gusties. Petermann said when he attended a visiting day for the team, Rauen sent him to the offensive huddle with the idea that Petermann would at some point take snaps at running back with Gustavus.
However, Petermann said he’s willing to play wherever he’s needed. He’s no stranger to playing all over the field as he punted for SEU last season also.
“I can play anywhere,” Petermann said. “I’m the utility. I would do it just to get more playing time if I had to, I’ll play anywhere they put me. I’m easy-going.”
Petermann said he also had an offer from Minnesota West Community & Technical College in Worthington, but he decided to go with Gustavus.
“I definitely think [Gustavus] can get me way stronger,” he said. “And they can help with agility and stuff and get you really fast. And I think they have very good leadership, too.”
Petermann said he’s excited to join a Gusties team that finished 6-4 last season under 15-year Gusties head football coach Peter Haugen. While the Gusties fell to Bethel in the MIAC Championship 31-7, Petermann thinks Gustavus can end up on the other end next season.
“I really think that those guys last year built something by making it to the championship … but I definitely think we can be back there this coming year,” Petermann said. “I’d love to be a part of that.”
Petermann is currently playing basketball with the St. Mary’s Knights and will play baseball with the Knights this spring. However, he said his first and last season playing football with SEU, St. Marys’ and Sleepy Eye High School’s first-ever coop football team, was memorable.
“It was amazing,” Petermann said. “I’ve never had so much fun playing football before. I’ve always been such great friends with them guys. I’ve never had any problems with them, they’re just great guys.”
Petermann said he’s thinking of majoring in business or sports management.