“It’s almost like you have to be there to get it,” continued Wilson about the atmosphere, constantly buzzing with 32 teams within four classes on six fields. “We reached our goal. We went as far as we could have. There was nothing to be disappointed about. We may not have ended it the way we wanted to, but I mean the state tournament — it doesn’t get much better than that.”
“At the start of the year, I was just hoping to make finals, but as the year progressed, I realized I actually had a chance to do something,” Carlson told the Duluth News Tribune after falling short only to defending long jump champion Noah Carlson, of Rushford-Peterson.
"That's the type of kid you don't want up at the wrong time," Wojtysiak added to the News Tribune of Emanuel. "I just made a visit right before that and told Jake, 'Don't make a mistake to him. We're going to take our chances with the next guy if we have to.' He left a pitch over the middle and that’s what that kid will do to you."
"Like I told the girls, 'Every team that we'll face down there ties their spikes the same way we do and puts their jerseys on the same way we do,'" continued Emanuel. "You play the game and see what happens."
"They always came out and played hard for me," said Clark, in her first season coaching at her alma mater. "They're very coachable, listen well and had a great season. I couldn't have asked for a better first year coaching.”
"We're the No. 1 seed, but it doesn't matter if you're 20-0 or 0-20 [in the playoffs]," Haugen said. "Everybody starts off fresh. We just have to make sure we play it one game at a time. That's cliche, but it's true."
The Bulldogs can thank the Tigers for ending a number of those runs in years past. Cherry won a Class A state title in 2012 and has been traveling to Caswell Park in North Mankato, Minn., year-in and year-out for over the past five years. On several occasions, Carlton was in that section final.
Competing last Wednesday in Virginia, North Woods claimed the Section 7A team title, denying the Bombers’ attempt at a three-peat. The Grizzlies finished with a net total of 762, followed by Braham at 787, Barnum at 835 and Mesabi East at 914.
"Our entire team wants this so bad," said Emanuel, whose older cousins and Uncle Brad were a part of the 2007 state-clinching club. "I remember all of the stories and I've seen all of the videos and pictures. I really hope that I can get that experience, too."
Esko’s Trenton Menor was a member of the 3,200 relay winners last week. The senior has been to state in the event twice and hopes he can make it back to Hamline University again. The sub-section 7A meet began Wednesday in Esko as this edition of the Pine Journal went to press. Sections continue June 2 and state is June 10-11.