Esko girls open spring as favoritesA standard Esko track and field practice in March usually includes warm-ups in the school’s gymnasium, followed by running around the hallways, staircases and even the playground – all as a team. And what a team they are.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
A standard Esko track and field practice in March usually includes warm-ups in the school’s gymnasium, followed by running around the hallways, staircases and even the playground – all as a team.
And what a team they are.
The Esko girls were crowned the best team in the state last spring, winning the Minnesota state True Team championship. As one of the favorites again this spring, the loaded Lady Eskomos are looking as good as ever.
“Collectively, we’re strong everywhere,” said senior hurdler Caitlin Lilly, who will play women’s soccer at Winona State University next year. “We can fill a lot of events and can really just throw people around.”
Coach Tim Lindquist noted around 30 high school girls have come out for the team – now in its third week of practice –while another 30 or so seventh- and eighth-graders are running around, too.
“In grades 7-12, we go about 60 strong,” Lindquist said Monday night following practice. “We have good numbers. It’s a nice luxury to work with.”
Lindquist was recently awarded the 2011 Minnesota Girls Class A Coach of the Year for his team’s performance last season. He earned the same honor in 2009, as he has led Esko to roughly the last half a dozen section titles and nearly a dozen straight Polar League championships, too.
Building a dynasty over time, Lindquist gives all the credit to the girls. Monday, he noted the senior and junior classes are stellar, while youngsters are also filling roles.
There were too many contributors to list.
“I think it’s a testament to all of the good teams we’ve had,” he said. “We have a good mix, but still, we’re as strong as we have been in the past. Looking at us again, we’re going to be a target, and rightfully so.”
In addition to their True Team state prize, the Eskomos set school records in the 400-, 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays last year, including three at the state meet at Hamline University.
“Over the last five of six years, our relays have been strong,” Lindquist said. “We should put some strong relays together again this year, but we have depth and experience in a lot of the individual events as well.”
Although often touted as an individual sport, track and field for the Eskomos is looked upon as a team standard.
Senior runner Kate Shelerud said their squad is looking well and practices have been productive.
“We haven’t been slacking at all and aren’t wasting any time,” said Shelerud, who will run indoor and outdoor track at the University of Minnesota next year. “Last year being the champions was unbelievable. The weather was pretty bad, but we wanted that title badly.”
Shelerud likes their chances for a repeat.
“I think we do have a target on our backs this year,” said Shelerud, the 2010 Class A state 800-meter champ. “Not only do we go down to state, but we compete as well. Esko’s name is definitely getting known down there. And again this year, I think we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”