The Eskomos are still fairly young. Five sophomores start for the team. “Right now we have five contributing and four more who could play but for older players,” Haugen said “We have lots of talent at the sophomore level. They are doing big things — playing key positions, pitching and hitting in the middle of the order.”
“We get such great leadership from our seniors,” Johnson added. “We are playing very well as a team now and everybody is locked in.” Perhaps no one is more “locked in” than senior Robbie Sobczak, who was named the school’s male Athlete of the Year after winning nine letters this school year — only five coming in sports.
Arreola was born in Juarez City, Mexico, and came to the United States at age 13. His mother remarried, moved to Cloquet and, once the paperwork was completed, eventually brought Oscar along. But once he arrived in America, young Oscar found the going tough. “I was always getting in trouble and getting in fights after I came here,” Arreola said. “There was a lot of racist stuff that got to me. But my uncle was always interested in boxing and Oscar de la Hoya was one of my idols because we had the same first name and I liked boxing too. Then someone said I should come to the gym. It gave me an outlet.”
“We had a string of bad weather,” Puccio said. “So to go out there when we had never played together as a team before outdoors and win made it really fun. “They looked like a team that was ready to play,” he added. “What was surprising was not that they won, but rather how they did it.”
On Friday night, Brett Heikkila ended a nearly four-hour long marathon with a goal at 17:40 of the second overtime to give the Wilderness a must-have, 2-1 win in Game Three before a crowd of 1,752 at Northwoods Credit Union Arena. “That game really showed our work ethic,” Millen said. “It showed a lot of character and took a lot of work to win that game.”
The 4x800 relay team of three freshman — Elise Pickar, Payton Schneberger, and Mackenzie Brummer — with junior Marie Osuna won easily, with freshman Kelly Lorenz taking the 100 hurdles and freshman Kendra Kelley winning the 100- and 200-yard dashes to earn a double.
Robbie Sobczak set the tone at first singles by dismissing Hibbing hockey ace Scott Perunovich by 6-2, 6-1. Joey Gotchnik won in three sets at third singles and Anders Pertler defeated Ryan Osborne 6-0, 6-2 at fourth singles for the third team point.
“We did show that we can play with them and can stand up to them,” he said. “We didn’t get the results but we do know we can play well.”
“We figured we would get some pushback from them (Janesville) because this was a game they had to have,” Millen said. “But we were really hoping they wouldn’t score in the first minute.”
“These girls are going to make a statement as far as Barnum track and field goes,” LaFave added. “It’s really fun watching them now, but it’s going to be even more fun watching some of these kids grow into their competition.”