The Runner’s RundownCross Country running summaries for Esko, Carlton and Cloquet
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
DOMINATION BEGINS IN ESKO
When Jerry Zimny said his Esko cross country athletes make his job easy, he wasn’t spouting platitudes.
They’re that good.
Last Thursday, the Eskomos again displayed their pure dominance on the course when both the boys and girls cruised past their competition at the drizzly Babbitt Memorial Run.
After all, the Eskomos are the defending section boys and girls champs. And they opened this fall showing exactly why.
“We’ll take it as it comes,” said Zimny about the early-season success. “I was pleased with how the kids ran last week.”
Despite losing three of their five star runners from a year ago, the Eskomos return standouts Jackson Lindquist (a junior) and Adam Eskuri (a senior). Lindquist won the meet handily last week, while Eskuri finished in the top half-dozen.
Esko finished with 46 points last week, far ahead of their nearest competitor Eveleth-Gilbert.
“We were wondering how things were going to look with losing so much,” said Zimny, “but it’s been a pleasant surprise.”
Especially with the youngsters.
“Our ninth- and 10th-graders are really running well,” continued Zimny. “We’re getting a chance to see some development and they’re giving us some hope for the future, too.”
And the girls, well, they’re just straight-up athletic.
“Basically everyone’s back,” said Zimny.
The boatload of talent includes all-state sophomore runners in Marisa Shady and Kallyn Knutson, as well as junior Kate Shelerud. Freshman Erika Shady and eighth-grade speedster Kailee Kiminski have also added depth.
At Babbitt, Marisa Shady was crowned the champion, while both Knutson and Kiminski clocked times in the top 10.
Esko completed the day with 38 points, edging Grand Rapids.
“They are so young and athletic, it really makes things easy,” said Zimny. “They’re a very unique group of girls that spans three grade levels. We’re just hoping to keep them healthy.”
If so, another trip to state doesn’t look too far out of reach.
“These kids have really put in some miles, and you can tell,” added Zimny. “I’m happy with where we’re at.”
Esko next competes in the Nemadji Invite Thursday in Superior.
CARLTON FARES WELL IN COOK COUNTY
It’s a long trip up to Grand Marais, but Matt Webb recently enjoyed it.
That’s because last week, his Carlton cross country squad competed well in the small Arrowhead regional meet, despite their lack of numbers.
With just 13 kids total, the Webb and the Bulldogs field only a boys team, while their four girls compete individually.
But don’t let that fool you, they’re a gutsy bunch.
“We’re a pretty young team,” said the second-year coach and teacher Webb, “but we have experience.”
Junior speedster Lindsey Dahl-Holm clearly leads the girls pack as one of the top runners in the Northland, finishing last week in sixth place overall and in second among Class A competitors.
Senior Kodie Peterson and sophomore Duncan Fox guide the boys.
“We’re looking forward to this year, and the future,” added Webb.
Carlton next travels to the Nemadji Invite Thursday in Superior.
CLOQUET TO OPEN SEASON THIS WEEK
It’s been a long wait for Mike Bushey and his Cloquet cross country squad. Thursday, however, that wait will be over when the Lumberjacks head to the Nemadji Invite in Superior.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Bushey. “We’ve built some confidence at practice and now we’re ready to get over there and compete.”
Bushey mentioned must-see runners include junior Cody Myllymaa and sophomore Erik Swanson for the boys, as well as senior Halee Peterson and junior Dalyce Gustafson on the girls side.
“We’ll see how we’ll sit after Thursday,” said Bushey. “It’ll be fun.”
Cloquet also travels to Eveleth-Gilbert for meet next week, Sept. 16.