Esko’s Shelerud is No. 1 at State Class A Track and Field meet
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
No one saw it coming. Not even Kate Shelerud.
Running near the top of the pack throughout most of the Minnesota Class A track and field state 800-meter finals Saturday evening, the Esko sophomore waited until the last 100 meters to make her move.
Seconds later, Shelerud was a state champion, marking the first time in about 15 years for the small community of Esko.
She could barely put it into words afterwards.
“I was so surprised. I know that [being at] state pushes you a lot, but this was more than I ever could have imagined,” Shelerud told the Duluth News Tribune after the race. “I don’t even know how to describe it.”
Her coach, however, did.
“I’ve been coaching track for over 25 years and that was one of the best races I’ve ever seen,” said Esko girls head coach Tim Lindquist. “It was really fun to watch.”
Lindquist sat in the top row of bleachers Saturday at Hamline University and quietly cheered Shelerud on, pushing her along every step of the way.
“I kept saying ‘Be patient,’” recalled Lindquist, who encouraged Shelerud throughout the drizzle-filled evening. “She waited until that final corner, jumped to the outside and made her move. It was perfect.”
Shelerud ran the race in 2 minutes 15.59 seconds, a personal best and school record, to edge out Sauk Centre’s top-seeded Savana Weller in a photo finish. Shelerud was nearing third Saturday at the time she stole
The night before, Shelerud set her second-best-ever 800 time at 2:18:42 in the preliminaries, only to top it by nearly three seconds Saturday.
“She saved her best for last,” said Lindquist. “I don’t know if she thought she was going to win, but she’s a competitor and ran so clean.”
The celebrations didn’t last long, as Shelerud posed on the podium and then quickly packed her bags for Chicago to catch up with the annual New Wine Christian-based drama tour bus.
“I haven’t even got a chance to sit down to talk with her,” said Lindquist.
With Shelerud guiding the way, the Esko girls placed 12th overall with 24 total points, while the boys finished 30th with 11 points. Luverne won the girls title, while Lac qui Parle Valley-Dawson-Boyd was the boys team champion.
In addition to Shelerud’s heroics, the Esko girls and boys relay teams all finished respectfully. Individuals including seniors Amanda Bergstedt and Katie Tonner sparkled on the girls side, while Jackson Lindquist, Max Reinertsen and Cody Salo excelled for the boys, receiving much praise from their coaches.
The weekend was one to remember for the Eskomos.
“It was awesome down there,” said Esko boys head coach Gary Beaudot afterwards. “Kate was incredible.”
“The Esko section was fired up,” added Lindquist. “We had a lot of fun.”
And the season was like none other as well.
“This was my 20th year coaching and it was the nicest all-around team I’ve ever had,” said Beaudot. “The kids did a really nice job.”