Esko girls defend True Team state titleEsko finished with 465.5 overall points, nearly 40 ahead of Blue Earth as distant runner-up at 426. Longtime Eskomos girls Coach Tim Lindquist said that convincing victory was nice to see, crediting all involved.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Running with a pulled quadriceps muscle Saturday morning, Marisa Shady sprinted to the 100-meter dash title, and then gingerly exited the track.
“I couldn’t walk afterward,” said the Esko junior, who strained her left leg last Wednesday at the Polar League meet in Barnum. “I could barely even stand up.”
That soreness kept Shady out of her normal long jump and relay duties, yet failed to trouble her team, as the Eskomos ran to the Class A state girls track and field True Team championship Saturday in Stillwater, Minn.
Shady admitted she probably shouldn’t have run at all over the weekend competition, yet placed second in the 800 along with her 100 win. Not the only one battling injury Saturday, Shady explained it was a maximum squad effort to defend the True Team title they won
“I rubbed it out, put on some Biofreeze and wrapped it up for the 800,” said Shady of her leg, “but we all overcame some tragedies. To win this one, you have to be a true team and that’s where our mindset was. It was a total team effort. I’m so proud. We had so many girls step up to the plate.”
Esko finished with 465.5 overall points, nearly 40 ahead of Blue Earth as distant runner-up at 426. Longtime Eskomos girls Coach Tim Lindquist said that convincing victory was nice to see, crediting all involved.
“There are way too many girls to mention,” said Lindquist, who noted around 20 athletes accounted for their title. “The team was able to put it together and win. They take this sport pretty seriously.”
That’s what sets the Eskomos apart from the rest. Participating in roughly the last half a dozen state True Team events and even more consecutive state meets, Esko has proven themselves as a track state powerhouse year after year.
“They don’t just run track to [avoid taking] the spring off,” Lindquist said, in his 14th year at the small Polar League school. “We have some great leaders who see it as pretty cool to go down and compete for a state championship.”
Senior mid-distance runner Kate Shelerud agreed, saying Saturday’s True Team championship describes their well-
balanced, depth-laden squad.
“I think winning the True Team defines us,” she said. “We have a lot of girls who can compete in a lot of different events. Our younger girls contribute just as much as our older ones. We kind of just feed off each other.
“And our coaches are very knowledgeable, too,” Shelerud continued, crediting Lindquist, boys coach Gary Beaudot and assistants Scott Antonutti, Dennis Rengo, Bill Hudspith, David Hack, Jerry Zimny, Ray Reinertsen and Scott Arntson.
Like Shady, Shelerud was hobbled Saturday with a bothersome hamstring injury. While not victorious, Shelerud watched and listened as Erika Shady won the 200, Kailee Kiminski the 1,600 and Brooke Schramm the long jump, filling in for Marisa Shady.
“We kept hearing them announce the scores,” Shelerud said. “Once we were ahead, we just kept pushing more and more. Losing a lot of seniors from last year’s team, we weren’t sure if we were able to win it again, but we just went for it. It’s always a good feeling to know not only you succeeded, but your whole team succeeded. We’re excited; hopefully we can keep this going.”
With sub-sections opening this week and sections to be held next week, the Esko girls are the sure favorites. Esko boys Coach Gary Beaudot said with their experience, confidence and depth, the girls are fun to watch.
“They are so confident and relaxed out there,” he said, “but that’s what makes championship teams. They have fast sprinters, strong mid-distance runners and are solid in the field events. They are deep, steady and all perform. They have athletes all over. I really don’t think they have a
The Esko boys placed fourth Saturday at the True Team, finishing with 343.5 points, following champion Maple Lake, runner-up Montevideo and Winona Cotter. Beaudot said their final place was impressive, having not advanced in 2011.
“We had some nice performances all the way around,” Beaudot said. “Some kids had their best times of the year. We’re happy with that. The kids did well.”
Max Reinertsen won the triple jump and took second in the long jump, while Riley Mudek claimed the 400 and was runner-up in the 200. Tyler Denzler also won the discus. Sean Peterson, Joey Johnson and Matt Rengo all set yearly bests, Beaudot said.
“I think not only did we represent our school, but the northern part of the state very well,” Lindquist said. “The kids get into it. We coaches get into it, too.”
“We go down there and people know the name Esko,” Shady added. “We just continue to come through time and time again. We do everything for our team.”
Pulled muscles or not.