Teams enjoy atypical events at Cloquet RelaysFor years, Cloquet would host an invitational track and field meet for local schools. Although competitive, Tim Prosen knew it was missing the most important element of all – fun. So the Lumberjacks coach changed that.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
For years, Cloquet would host an invitational track and field meet for local schools. Although competitive, Tim Prosen knew it was missing the most important element of all – fun.
So the Lumberjacks coach changed that.
Last spring, following discussion with local coaches, Prosen was the mastermind behind the creation of the Cloquet Relays. Unlike a traditional track meet, Prosen added unique events, races and T-shirts for the winners.
“I always heard from other coaches about other meets that were different,” Prosen said, “so I decided that Cloquet should be a part of something like that.”
It was a hit.
Events like a steeplechase over hay bales, a hurdle relay and even having throwers strut their stuff on the oval had teams come flocking to Prosen last year.
Prosen said it’s a fun time, and teams love it.
“I look back now and I’m so glad we changed it up,” Prosen continued. “It’s the most excited I’ve seen kids at a meet all year.”
Last Friday, Prosen and the Lumberjacks hosted the second annual Cloquet Relays on a beautiful sunny afternoon at Cloquet High School. Seven teams – including Esko, Carlton and Moose Lake-Willow River – participated in the distinctive meet, as kids, coaches and fans packed the stands, sidelines and infield all evening long.
“Things went really well,” Prosen said. “It was a perfect day for it.”
Esko coach Tim Lindquist agreed.
“It was a change of pace at a good time of year, and our kids enjoyed it,” he said. “There was a sense of urgency there. The kids took it pretty seriously.”
Prosen said kids are all about the T-shirts given to the winners.
“T-shirts were at every finish line,” he said. “But that’s what makes it so much fun. The kids want those things.”
Lindquist explained that his girls won a number of events, while Prosen noted his boys were likely top finishers as well.
Some of the more strange and notable events were won by both schools, as the Esko girls won the 6-by-800 meter relay race, while Cloquet’s Halee Peterson was the girls steeplechase winner and Lumberjacks’ Sean Ferrell, Landen Straub and Jared Anderson won the hurdle shuttle relay.
Yet, all eyes were on the coaches when they took to the starting line.
Added this year was the highly-anticipated coaches’ relay that featured two coaches and one male and female student in a 4-by-100-meter sprint.
“The kids joked about having the coaches race, and I said ‘Let’s do it,’” said Prosen, laughing. “So I asked local coaches and they were up for it.”
Speedy Cloquet coaches Jeff Leno and Robert Drayton-Wiley won the thrilling race along with Cloquet athletes Brad Butcher and Emily Rikkola.
Lindquist didn’t sign up, but said he had fun watching.
“I had my hiking boots on, but I was game to run if they wanted me to,” he chuckled. “We don’t have any young ringers on our coaching staff, so we didn’t have a team. It was neat for sure.”
Carlton Coach Andy Wyman ran the relay. He had a blast.
“I’m not as fast as I used to be,” he laughed, “but it went just fine.”
Prosen said there’s already trash talk between local coaches about next year’s competition.
“It was a fun race,” Prosen said. “While the coaches were getting ready, the kids got to yell at their coaches like we do to them sometimes.”
But like Wyman explained, last week was just simply
“We liked it,” Wyman said. “We couldn’t come last year since it was postponed and we had another meet on our schedule, but we’re sure glad we made it this time. We learned a little bit about our team, too.”
Prosen has explained in the past that teams are continuously trying to sign up for the event in the future. There’s a possibility of expanding the field of teams, but Prosen said he’s still working the process out and nothing is set yet.
One thing is for certain, however. Fun will be had.
“It was a win-win for everyone,” Prosen said. “We all needed this.”