The Runner’s RundownPrep running summaries
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Esko cleans house at Polar League Conference meet, several given
If you expected anyone other than Esko to win last week’s Polar League Conference cross country meet, you might be considered insane. They’re the best team around and last Wednesday they proved why.
Both the state-ranked boys and girls squads were crowned champions last Wednesday at Pincushion Trails in Grand Marais, while a laundry list of their individual runners earned All-Conference honors.
“They ran very well,” said longtime Esko coach Jerry Zimny. “It’s just a good group of kids all the way through.”
Highlighting the day for the Eskomos was eighth-grade speedster Kailee Kiminski, who won the girls 4-kilometer competition in 15 minutes, 25.0 seconds.
“She ran very consistently throughout the race,” said Zimny. Kiminski also won the Proctor Lions meet Tuesday afternoon.
Placing second behind Kiminski was state-ranked sophomore Marisa Shady, while Shady’s younger sister, freshman Erika, took fourth and sophomore Kallyn Knutson came in fifth.
For the boys, Esko was led by junior standout Jackson Lindquist’s runner-up finish in the 5-kilometer event, with a time of 18:08.9. Lindquist trailed only Cook County-Two Harbors’ Kieran Scannell, who set the new course record at Pincushion at an astounding pace of 16:59.2.
Esko senior Adam Eskuri placed third and sophomore Joey Johnson claimed fourth. Six of the top-10 slots were filled with Eskomos, both girls and boys. Freshman Jessie Maki even took home the girls junior varsity title.
“That just goes to show the depth that we have,” said Zimny. “It was a nice day.”
Although Esko headlined the annual conference get-together, a handful of other local runners placed well on the muggy day.
Moose Lake-Willow River-Barnum senior Kathryn Moonen earned All-Conference honors by placing seventh on the girls side. She was followed by Wrenshall senior Candice Wyman in 16th.
For the boys, ML-WR-Barnum senior Cody Coughlin, battling a knee injury, had an impressive afternoon claiming 11th. Cromwell-Wright-Floodwood freshman Nick Koenig was crowned king in the JV race.
Despite missing his top girls competitor in junior Lindsey Dahl-Holm to a foot injury, Webb witnessed some nice performances last week, with sophomore Courtney Bauer taking 11th and senior Jin Park in 17th for the Carlton girls, and senior Kodie Peterson claiming 16th for the boys.
“Overall we ran pretty well and were consistent,” said Carlton coach Matt Webb, whose boys team placed fourth. “It was a hilly course up there and we set some personal records I think.”
But even Webb knows, when it comes to Northland running, it starts in Esko.
“Some kids sometimes get intimidated having to go up against them,” he said about the powerful Eskomos. “They’re very impressive and have a good tradition over there. I see a lot of them running in the summertime. They really put in the work and time to be good.”
Zimny just hopes that pays off next week when sections roll around.
“That main goal all year is to make it to the state meet, you work for it all year,” said Zimny. “The kids have been looking forward to this time of year. They know. Hopefully we’ll be in the hunt, but there’s some good competition out there. There are no givens.”
For results of Tuesday’s meet in Proctor, see page B4.
The Section 7A Meet will take place Thursday, Oct. 28, at the Cloquet Country Club. The boys race will begin at noon followed by the girls at 12:45 p.m.
Peterson, Swanson named
All-Conference as Cloquet fares well at LSC meet
Cloquet senior Halee Peterson and sophomore Erik Swanson are such different cross country runners, yet in the same sense, so alike. The pair of running enthusiasts shined last Thursday at Far Par Golf Course in Duluth, as the duo blazed through the fairways to earn All-Conference honors at the always-competitive Lake Superior Conference cross country meet.
Nearing the final stages of her high school running career, Peterson placed fifth to lead the girls 4-kilometer race with a final time of 15 minutes, 31.4 seconds, and at the beginning of his legacy, Swanson notched the seventh spot at 16:53.8 for his 5K jaunt.
Tuesday at the Proctor Lions meet, Swanson finished third, while Peterson took fourth.
“Those two have been running well for us all year,” said Cloquet coach Mike Bushey. “One’s at the end and one’s at the beginning. It’s really neat. Halee’s a great leader for us and Erik is just sticking his nose in there.”
Paced by the pair last Thursday, Cloquet finished sixth in both the boys and girls divisions. Ashland was crowned the boys team champion, while Superior won the girls meet.
Also finishing in the top-30 for the ’Jacks was senior Jared Anderson and Dylan Marvel, while for the girls was junior Dalyce Gustafson and eighth-grader Kaylee McMillen.
Now it’s onto the Section 7AA Meet Thursday, Oct. 28, in Princeton, a place where Bushey said his crew has never been. The boys will start at 2 p.m. and girls at 2:45 p.m.
“We have no idea what to expect,” he laughed, “but we sure are excited for it. The younger kids are especially excited for it. And we have a couple kids who have a chance to make their way to the state meet. It should be a lot of fun.”