The Ashley Award doesn’t always go to the star, but rather to the player who is the most like Ashley was — who loved to play, was coachable, motivated and hard-working.”
Something everyone else in purple and gold enjoyed was a surprise visit from members of the track team, some of whose members competed at Hamline University in the state meet later that day. The idea was the brainchild of track coach Tim Prosen, who had his students leave Cloquet two hours earlier than planned in order to catch a portion of a match and provide support for fellow students.
At least five of the team’s athletes will compete in college. On the boys side, Andre Couture (University of Wisconsin-Superior) will join Dusty Manty (Minnesota State University-Mankato) and Collin Trout (St. John’s) as college athletes, while Alyssa Earls (UWS) and Mikayla Baker (University of Minnesota) will also look to compete.
“It was disappointing,” Norrgard said. “Our whole season seemed to go that way. It’s hard on the coaches, the players, they all want to win. This was a great bunch of kids, but it seemed like we didn’t have any baseball luck all season.” But the nature of the game is such that the players will recover from the disappointment faster than the coaches.
In Section 7AA, Cloquet finished ninth in the boys meet, held in Grand Rapids, while the girls team finished sixth. Kendra Kelley finished second in the 100 meters, behind state champion Bailee Brazerol of Grand Rapids by one-tenth of a second and won the 200 meters outright.
“We only have a couple of seniors graduating,” Carlson said. “We have an eighth-grader, a freshman and a sophomore on the varsity section team and have a lot of numbers coming back. Our scoring averages, which determine the section team, were close, within a couple of strokes in some cases, and kids know if they work hard and improve, they are only a couple of strokes off the section team.”
“Just go out and play consistently, even nine holes a week will help the beginners,” he said. “Lots of area golfers, they expect to pick up a club in the spring and be decent, and then not pick up a club all summer. That isn’t how you improve.”
A 4-2 elimination round win over eighth-seed Hibbing kept the season alive but had Tondryk shaking his head. “Hibbing was the kind of game where you need to get off the field after five innings (winning by the 10-run rule) and we didn’t do that,” he said. “We were tired for the third game.”
Seniors Josh Keith and Lucas Tomhave were the other Lumberjacks team in the doubles event and nearly pulled off a first-round upset as the 11th seeds. They took seniors Jack Kronzer and Yusuf Khwaja of Marshall to three sets before losing 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 4-6.
“This is a chance for us to get back on track and build for the playoffs,” Haugen said. “We need to pick up a couple of wins and the thing of it is, success is contagious. If we get that big hit it can snowball.”