Carlton County to be well represented at StateHaving already qualified himself for State, Thomas Udenberg saved his best shot put throw for last. Now, like last week, the Cloquet senior hopes to heave his way to another first.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Having already qualified himself for State, Thomas Udenberg saved his best shot put throw for last. Now, like last week, the Cloquet senior hopes to heave his way to another first.
Udenberg enters Friday’s Class AA state track and field meet at Hamline University in St. Paul for the first time in his five-year varsity career, using a herculean throw of 53 feet, 4 inches to win last Wednesday’s Section 7AA finals at Malosky Stadium in Duluth. In the process, Udenberg edged long-lived rival Brady Thomsen of Grand Rapids and set a personal best.
“By four feet,” Udenberg said of his best career throw. “I knew I was going to State, so I figured it’d be my last time to be a section champ. It just came off right and it all worked out.”
Cloquet throwing coach Andy Elias said Udenberg, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound spin-technique linchpin, works as hard as anyone.
“Practice ends at 5:45 p.m. and we’ll get out of there at 7,” Elias said. “He’s got some big throws in him and he’ll stay until he gets it right. Some days you have to take him off the concrete.”
“Track is his number one sport,” added Cloquet Coach Tim Prosen. “Obviously he’s going to follow this into college, too, but this is the pinnacle of his career right now.”
Udenberg, who will throw next year at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, has won all but two of his meets this spring and is seeded just four feet short of No. 1.
“Four feet is four feet — it’ll be tough,” said Udenberg, who will head to State with Cloquet’s 3,200-meter boys relay. “But I PRed by four feet at sections, so who says I can’t do it again?”
Like Udenberg, Moose Lake-Willow River’s Nicole Tekippe also enters her first State meet, as the Rebels’ freshman breezed to the 1,600- and 3,200-meter titles at Friday’s Section 7A finals at Malosky Stadium, winning each event by almost 12 seconds.
“I like to go out fast and get a lead so I don’t fall behind,” said Tekippe, who shaved about 25 seconds off her one-mile time from last year and was over 45 seconds better in her personal-best two-mile Friday. “It was a really good day for me.”
“She’s jumped out to a lead in every race she’s run,” ML-WR Coach Tony Andres added. “She’s a good, young runner. By lap two, runners behind her were nowhere else to be seen.”
Esko’s Riley Mudek will participate in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes at State. The senior sprinter finished fourth in the 400 last year at State, but Friday, set a school best record in 50.06 seconds.
“I’ve been running it since seventh grade; I feel like it’s my race,” Mudek said. “I’m looking to break 50 and maybe win it.”
Teammate Erika Shady won the 200-meter dash Friday, while the Esko junior was a part of two of Esko’s four winning relay teams (400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200) and pole vaulted 9 feet to qualify for this weekend.
“I tried it, I liked it and I’ve been doing it ever since,” said Shady, who’s best vault is 9-9. “I’m hoping for 10 feet at State.”
Other Carlton County athletes participating in the State track meet are Ben Moonen of Moose Lake-Willow River (800), Michael Pender of Moose Lake-Willow River (110 and 300 hurdles), Esko boys 400, 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams, Moose Lake-Willow River boys 800 relay team, Ben Bisel of Esko (high jump), Jon Evenson of Moose Lake-Willow River (long jump), Brady Youngberg of Barnum (discus), Josh Oliver of Cromwell-Wright (shot put), Allie Cahoon of Cromwell-Wright (400), Kailee Kiminski of Esko (800), Gracelynn Otis of South Ridge (1,600), Erika Fox of Carlton (3,200), Cromwell-Wright girls 3,200 relay team, and Marisa Shady of Esko (triple jump).