Non-traditional track and field meet scores a hit with area foesThe Cloquet Relays are an atypical (and fun) event that includes things such as a steeple chase, coaches relay and a pole-vaulter race that taje the edge off many intense track schedules.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Mikaela Dunaisky is used to running sprints in just over 12 seconds. So when the speedster was asked how far she tossed the 12-pound steel shot put ball last week, the Cloquet senior kept the results brief.
“I didn’t place, I know that,” she said, laughing. “It was fun, though.”
Last Friday’s annual Cloquet Relays felt that way for many of its participants. Like Dunaisky, many athletes participated in atypical competitions at the third-year event. Meet originator and director Tim Prosen said things such as a steeple chase, coaches relay and pole-vaulter race took the edge off many intense track schedules.
“I think it’s the perfect meet at the perfect time of the year,” said Prosen, in his eighth year as the Lumberjacks track and field coach. “The second half of the season gets pretty serious, so this time of year, we really need this.”
Prosen explained that Cloquet, Carlton, Esko, Moose Lake-Willow River, Proctor, Two Harbors and Wrenshall competed in the out-of-the-ordinary event at Cloquet High School last week.
The Cloquet Social Studies teacher said the one-mile steeple chase over hay bales is always a highlight for anyone watching or competing.
“That race sums things up,” Prosen said, noting 65 runners raced at once while laughter filled the chilly afternoon air. “That race alone is the highlight of the year for some kids. The fun that was had was great.”
Prosen didn’t overlook the always-entertaining 400-meter coaches’ relay either. He said that the day’s finale race crammed the sidelines.
“Usually that’s about the time you see kids packing up their bags and walking out,” Prosen said of a normal track meet atmosphere. “The kids love that one, though. There are some fast coaches, too.”
Prosen didn’t race.
“I’m not fast enough,” he said with a chuckle. “I got beat by our other coaches.”
Moose Lake-Willow River won the relay; coaches Tony Andres, Zach Cisar and senior Josh Cisar and sophomore Dana Olson took the title home.
Coach Andres ran track at Pierz High School years back. He said the last time he ran a 100-meter dash was at last year’s Cloquet Relays.
“I was a sprinter in high school, so I didn’t pull anything,” Andres said. “But I’m not going to lie, I was a little sore the next day.
“I run a little bit at practice so it took on the final leg,” Andres continued. “I remember the sidelines and infield packed on both sides. There were a lot of people there watching it. That was a pretty cool atmosphere, to be honest.”
Josh Cisar said it was neat to run with Andres and older brother, Zach.
“They are a little slower than I am, but they’re still pretty quick,” Josh said, smiling. “Most meets are like repetition over and over. I like how they changed it up for us. I ran five events. It was just a lot of fun.”
Esko girls Coach Tim Lindquist added that his talented teams have been attending the Cloquet Relays since the inauguration of the event in 2010.
“It shakes up the season,” Lindquist explained. “It’s not your traditional meet. I think it’s a good deal. And I know our kids sure enjoy being in it.”
Lindquist said the Eskomos use the meet as an assessment sometimes.
“We take it seriously and look to compete,” Lindquist said, also pointing out that the Esko boys and girls won the Section 7A True Team championships Tuesday night in Pierz. “I think we set a couple of our fastest times in Cloquet.”
Prosen said he didn’t have any results from last week’s competition; however, he added that – like always – his inbox had some messages the next day.
“I always get several emails afterward,” said Prosen, sharing some positive comments directed his way. “It’s a fun meet that is competitive at the same time. You see a lot of teams coming together at it.”
“It’s always cool to do something you never would ever get to do,” Dunaisky added about her shot put and backward hurdling experiences last week. “Everyone has a good time. You’re doing things that are opposite. That’s fun.”
Even if it doesn’t result in a place.
“I have no idea how far I threw it,” Dunaisky said of her shot put toss, “but it’s my senior year. It’s my last hoorah. It’s fun to have a meet like this.”