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Boys clinch conference meet, girls take close second

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It’s possible that the eventual outcome of the 2014 Lake Superior Conference track meet was determined under the bleachers at Cloquet’s Bromberg Field — in 2013.

Last year, the favored Lumberjacks stumbled at the conference meets, finishing second in both boys and girls — and someone wrote it on the underside of the school’s own metal bleachers.

“Someone from another school, I don’t know who it was, wrote ‘Second place, Lake Superior Conference, Lumberjacks, 2013’, on our bleachers,” Cloquet coach Tim Prosen said. “I saw it when I was locking up the place after the meet.”

Prosen immediately saw a chance for motivation.

“I took a picture of it,” he said. “We made a poster of it, hung it up at practice and used it.”

On Tuesday, the boys’ team gained revenge. They cruised to a 16-point win over Superior and won the conference championship after winning the Section 7AA True Team meet last week. The girls weren’t quite as fortunate — falling by three points to Hermantown and settling for second place for a second straight year.

“We raised our efforts and our goals,” Prosen said. “We didn’t want to see that again.”

The boys used strong depth to earn their victory. Star sprinter Richmond Seju cruised to a win by .32 seconds in the 100 meters, running an 11.25; he added a third-place finish in the 200 and a fourth place in the long jump.

“He is very important,” Prosen said of Seju. “There is a lot of attention given to the fastest person. The 100 is a big event whether it’s in a high school meet or in the Olympics. To have Richmond consistently be on top is a big thing because everybody watches that 100.”

Yet the team is far more than one person.

“I look at most of our events at positions 1-3 and we’re in pretty good shape,” Prosen said.  “We’ve seen some big improvements. We knew we’d have the Dylan Marvels and the [Isaac] Gilchrists, guys who would be consistently on top, but people like (sophomore) Rand Bieri, who came into his own in the 800, that’s gratifying.”

Dylan Marvel had a good day in the distance runs, winning the 800 meters by nearly a full second over Ryan Kero of Hermantown in 2:03:54, and adding a third place in the 1600, moments ahead of freshman teammate Isaac Boedigheimer.

Boedigheimer, senior Jace Anderson and freshman John Waltjer finished 2-3-4, respectively, in the 3200 meters, giving the team much needed points.

Isaac Gilchrist narrowly missed victory in the 110 hurdles, taking second place in 15.67 seconds. Junior Kris Klatt was fourth in the 300 hurdles as well.

The best relay performance was in the 4x400, with the team taking second place behind Hermantown.

In the field events, Spencer Mayasich and Isaac Gilchrist went 3-4 in the high jump, clearing 5’8” and 5’6” respectively, while Gilchrist was also fourth in the pole vault. Joey Gotchnik was fifth in the triple jump to lead the Lumberjacks in that event.

Freshman Evan Erickson was third in the shot put and the winner in the discus, with his toss of 126 feet winning the event by almost four feet.  Junior Peil Tyler was fourth.

On the girls’ side, senior Maija Doran was edged out in the 100 meters, finishing second in 13.38 seconds. Doran and Mikalya Baker were 2-4 in the 200 meters as well.

In the 400, junior Emily Genereau, freshman Anja Maijala and seventh-grader Kendra Kelly were 2-3-4 to provide needed team points, with Genereau posting a time of 64.78 seconds.

Sophomore Jessica Stone had a strong day, winning the 800 in 2:31:45 and finishing third to winner Maijala in the 1600, with the freshman posting a fine “metric mile” time of 5:30 to win going away.

Maijala became a double winner by taking the 3200 meters as well, in 11:51.73, with sophomore Alysha Anderson taking fourth. It was part of a solid day for the distance runners on both teams.

“We’re pretty balanced,” Prosen said. “Our girls and boys distance runners are extremely strong.”

Sophomore Hannah Bourdage was the only top-three finisher in the hurdles, taking second in the 100-meter race in 17.30.

In relays, the 4x200 team of Kelly, senior Kaitlyn Knutson, Baker and Doran earned a close victory in 1:52.10, and the 4x400 team of Maijala, Stone, Genereau and Baker won by more than six seconds, cruising to victory in 4:22:32.

In the field events, Gabby Larson tied for third in the high jump, with Rachel Macaulay and Knutson going 1-3 in the pole vault.

Doran was third in the triple jump and senior Mikaela Sunnarborg finished third in the shot.

In the end, though, it wasn’t quite enough for the girls, whose team score of 173 put them three points behind Hermantown.

“We’ve had a good spring from people like Lauren Loeb, who missed the conference meet for a science fair in California,” Prosen said. “Kendra Kelly and Kelly Lorenz (both seventh graders) are others who brought a lot to our team. Last year we didn’t know about these kids and this year they’re great competitors.”

While the disappointment is definitely there for the girls, having finished second, the boys team is on a high after winning the True Team section meet last Tuesday, as well as the conference title. Prosen is optimistic about the rest of the season and, with a little adjustment, both Cloquet teams might be on the winners’ stand at sections.

“If [the girls] hit a few more things, maybe they win that meet,” Prosen said of the True Team section meet. “It’s a good problem to have.”