The Runner’s RundownPrep sports cross country running summaries
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
A busy Marisa Shady keeps running atop her list
If you know Marisa Shady, chances are you’re well aware that she’s quite the busy Esko sophomore these days.
Whether it’s getting up before sunrise, being a four-sport athlete or balancing her social life, she’s always on the run – literally.
Shady currently anchors the Northland’s most-talented girls cross country team this fall and has been for the past few years. The skinny speedster has run varsity since seventh grade and has made the state meet each fall.
“I just love our cross country team, that’s what I think keeps me going and coming back every year,” said Shady. “And I’m just a competitive person.”
It shows. The standout has been among the top of the pack year in and year out. This fall she’s already won meets at Chub Lake and Babbitt, claimed second at Nemadji and recently took fourth at the ultra-competitive Milaca Mega Meet Saturday, shaving over a minute off her time from last year.
Shady earned All-State honors last season with her 23rd-place finish at state, and this year she’s been near the top of the Duluth News Tribune cross country polls all season long.
But things haven’t always been so easy for Shady. Esko’s current No. 1 runner had knee problems because she didn’t consume enough calories for the ones she was burning off, and she also battles asthma.
However, this fall Shady explained she’s never been healthier in her young career.
“I’m eating a lot,” she laughed, noting that she eats 4,000-5,000 calories per day to keep her weight up. “I’m really healthy this year and am working hard.”
Her coach, Jerry Zimny, firmly agreed.
“First of all, she’s got talent,” he said. “Marisa runs hard and is willing to compete. She isn’t afraid to keep the pace. She’s got some toughness to her.”
An average day for Shady starts before the sun rises, as she runs with her teammates, attends Esko High School for a couple hours, returns for home-schooling in the afternoon and then makes her way to soccer practice in the evening.
In the winter, Shady plays basketball and in the springtime she continues her talents on the hardwood competing in AAU hoops, as well club soccer, too.
“I’m busy,” laughed Shady, “but I like it.”
Esko’s top-five runners include Shady and her younger sister, freshman Erika Shady, junior Kate Shelerud, sophomore Kallyn Knutson and eighth-grader Kailee Kiminski.
All five are two-sport athletes in the fall and run four to five miles and eat breakfast together every morning, according to Shady.
“We all get along,” Shady said. “We all really push each other.”
Besides Kiminski, all qualified for state last season and are in good position to do the same again this year. Pacing the team, Shady is wishing this November will be her best yet.
“I’m hoping I can make the top-10 at state,” she said confidently.
Her Esko-Carlton soccer team might also make their way to state, too.
As for cross country, Shady and the Eskomos will next race at the always-popular Swain Invitational Meet in Enger Park Golf Course in Duluth on Saturday.
“It’s a tough course,” said Shady, “but it should be a lot of fun.”
Northland squads fare well at Milaca Mega Meet
At Saturday’s well-known statewide Milaca Mega Meet, Esko coach Jerry Zimny said there were probably over 100 teams and 3,000 racers.
And a number of Northland squads and kids fared quite well.
Leading the pack were the Eskomos who placed first in the Class A boys division, while the girls claimed second. Junior speedster Jackson Lindquist paced the Eskomos, taking the runner-up spot, while sophomore Marisa Shady claimed the top slot for the girls, finishing fourth.
Three Esko boys finished in the top-10, while four girls placed in the top-15 Saturday.
“It was a good day,” recalled Zimny about the four-class separated event. “It was a nice day for running. It was overcast and it didn’t get sunny until the last race. There were a lot of quality runners and competition down there and the kids ran well.”
So did Cloquet.
The Lumberjacks competed in Class AAA. The boys took home 10th place, but Cloquet didn’t field a girls team. Individually, however, senior Halee Peterson finished in a team-best 13th place to lead the girls, while sophomore Erik Swanson secured 24th for the boys.
“It went well,” said Cloquet coach Mike Bushey. “Racing against a lot of older kids, I think our kids really thought they we competitive.”
AlBrook, Cromwell-Floodwood, Wrenshall and Carlton also competed well Saturday.
A number of local teams, including Cloquet, Esko and Carlton, will be back in action on Saturday to compete in the Swain Invitational Meet at Enger Park Golf Course in Duluth.
“We’re pretty fired up,” said Bushey about the Swain Invite. “They’ll be hundreds of teams and thousands of kids there.”