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Esko’s Peterson proves a triple threat

As a kid, Marc Peterson’s father, Todd, would bring him to the gym to practice basketball. At times, he would take his son home if he used his right hand.

Teaching him how to use his left hand as well as his dominant right, Todd’s youngest son surely has left his mark at Esko High School. Marc, now a senior, recently earned a finalist spot for Minnesota’s Triple “A” (Academics, Arts and Athletics) award for 2014.

Presented to 32 statewide finalists two weeks ago at the Minnesota State High School League boys basketball tournament, the AAA award is one that highlights both success in sports and in the classroom for all student-athletes.

“Growing up, my dad always taught me that in’ student-athlete,’ the student comes first,” said Peterson, who represented Region 7A, winning the award along with Mesabi East High School’s Aimee Allen the same day that his boys basketball team won the Class AA state title. “I feel more accomplished with the Triple-A award — academics, arts and athletics — than winning a state basketball championship.”

Peterson, who said a prayer to his late grandfather, Bob, before that championship game, scored 16 points, as the fifth-year varsity player led all scorers against Annandale in helping the small school to its first state crown.

Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, he wasn’t present for his AAA award during halftime. Instead, he was in his team’s locker room remaining focused on the game — and he didn’t even get announced.

Todd and his wife, Aimee, were a little upset their son wasn’t recognized by the MSHSL that day, but it didn’t diminish how delighted they were for the award he received.

“It was pretty special,” said Todd, who gave Marc a huge hug after the game on championship Saturday.

The younger Peterson, who attended part of the awards banquet before rushing to the Target Center in his dress clothes, said he received a blue medal, exactly like his title one.

“Everything has always been blue and gold,” Aimee said.

Along with being the basketball point guard, Peterson is also the school’s football quarterback and member of the golf team. He has a 3.94 GPA. The National Honor Society student — still undecided on college — has 44 college credits and had to forgo his trumpet this year after six years in band.

“I’ve been very fortunate to grow up in this community,” said Peterson, thanking his family and many Esko influences.

“He’s a gentleman,” added Esko basketball Coach Mike Devney, noting Peterson has a school-record 295 career 3-pointers. “He’s just a tremendous kid, who does incredibly well in the classroom — and has a pretty sweet jump shot.”