’Jacks runners prepare to face teams twice their sizeEvery year, the Section 7AA meet is a big deal to Mike Bushey’s Cloquet cross country team. Like most squads, this time of year is important, but Bushey’s crew figures they have nothing to lose.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Every year, the Section 7AA meet is a big deal to Mike Bushey’s Cloquet cross country team. Like most squads, this time of year is important, but Bushey’s crew figures they have nothing to lose.
“We don’t really know what to expect,” said Bushey about the foreign southern-metro course in Princeton, Minn. “Hopefully we perform well.”
His runners are excited to get into action.
“We’re bringing a lot of young kids down there. They’re really looking forward to it, because we make it a big deal – and because they get out of school all day,” he said, laughing.
Although Cloquet has had some struggles competing as a team this fall, senior Halee Peterson and sophomore Erik Swanson have both been racing well all year. Both have outside shots at advancing to state. Swanson and the boys get started at 2 p.m. Thursday, followed by Peterson at 2:45 p.m. for the girls division.
“Those two, like everyone, work very hard,” Bushey said. “If they run like they’re capable of running, they’ll both have an opportunity.”
Yet, competing against schools two and three times their size, as well as being unfamiliar with the venue, could make for a daunting task.
“I’m a little nervous because I’ve never run against those teams,” said Peterson about the Twins Cities suburban schools, such as defending state champion Elk River. “But I’m going hard right now.”
“It’s going to be fast,” added Bushey, “but it’ll be a good measuring tool for us.”
Peterson is seeking, like Swanson, her first trip to state. And if it happens Thursday, it’ll be the icing on the cake for her stellar six-year career with the ’Jacks.
“I think it’s supposed to snow that day,” laughed the humble, easy-going Peterson, “but I’m excited.
It could be my last race ever. I’m going to give it