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.”
“We hung with them for a few innings but they are a very good team,” he said. “They have to be the section favorite.”
For the second consecutive year, the Lumberjacks lost to Hibbing-Chisholm in the Section 7A championship match Saturday afternoon, falling 6-1 in Hibbing. “I feel bad for the kids,” coach Derek Johnson said. “It was disappointing for them and disappointing for all of us.”
“We always talk about how you will get better playing in the summer. We’ve said that for many years,” he said. “If you don’t play in the summer, you lose a little bit of your edge.
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.”