Esko sweeps Section 7A
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
To say the Section 7A cross country meet was good to Esko athletes would be an understatement.
The Eskomos swept the competition, taking first place in both the boys and girls meets and qualifying for the Nov. 7 state meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
On the boys’ side, the team score of 55 was good for a 12-point win over second-place Eveleth-Gilbert. Mesabi East finished third and Virginia fourth.
Individually, the 5K race turned into a four-man duel between Esko sophomore Jackson Lindquist and freshmen Kieran Scannell of Cook County and Matt Welch of Proctor, with senior Jordan Smith of Cromwell-Floodwood lurking on the edges.
Scannell emerged the victor in 17 minutes 13.5 seconds, edging Lindquist by 1.5 seconds. Welch finished third and Smith fourth. The four runners were separated by less than four seconds.
Esko senior Raleigh Goessling finished seventh, and junior Adam Eskuri 11th in excellent team score finishes. Freshman Joey Johnson was 16th and senior Phil Wirtz was 18th, as the Eskomos managed to pick up all five team scores inside the top 20 overall.
Cromwell-Floodwood finished 10th in the team standings with Smith their top finisher. Moose Lake-Willow River-Barnum was 13th in the team standings, with junior Cody Coughlin taking 51st place as their top finisher. Carlton-Cloquet Christian Academy was 14th in the team standings, with junior Kodie Peterson their top finisher in 55th place overall.
The girls’ race was closer in the team score, with the Eskomos edging out Cook County-Two Harbors by just five points in a 54-59 contest. Runners from the two schools earned five of the top 10 places and eight of the top fifteen overall.
Esko was led by a pair of freshmen. Marisa Shady took fourth place in the 4K race, finishing in 15:47.5, ahead of Cook County’s Signe Larson and Esko teammate Kallen Knutson, who was sixth in 15:53.8. Sophomore Kate Shelerud was 12th for Esko in 16:44, two places ahead of senior Amanda Bergstedt.
Junior Rachael Mills picked up perhaps the most important score for Esko, an 18th-place finish that put the entire team inside the top 20 and into the winners’ circle.
Carlton-CCA was 10th in the team standings but had the area’s top finisher with sophomore Lindsay Dahl-Holm taking second place overall in a fine time of 15:42.4. She finished one spot and 1.4 seconds ahead of Cromwell-Floodwood senior Sarah Chasson, who took third place overall. Cromwell-Floodwood was eighth in the team standings.
Cloquet was, of course, the only entrant in the Class AA event, with both the boys and girls teams finishing in 12th place in their competitions.
The top Cloquet boys finisher was senior Chase Pritchett, who finished 51st overall in 18:49.8.
Freshman Erik Swanson, sophomore Joey Martin, senior Derek Smith and freshman Andrew Hainline generated Cloquet’s team score. The boys meet was won by Forest Lake.
On the girls side, junior Halee Peterson had Cloquet’s best finish, taking 31st place in 16:43. She was two places ahead of sophomore teammate Amy Campbell. Sophomores Dalyce Gustafson and Danielle Anderson were next to cross the line for Cloquet, with senior Kaylee Hagen marking the last team score on Cloquet’s ledger.