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Cloquet sweeps conference track meet

The Cloquet boys and girls track teams celebrate their Lake Superior Conference championship at last Thursday’s conference meet in Superior. Contributed Photo1 / 3
The track is reflected in Cloquet senior Isaac Boedigheimer's sunglasses. Jed Carlson/Forum News Service2 / 3
Conner Denman of Cloquet edges out an Ashland runner to take second in the 4x100 relay race last Thursday at the Lake Superior Conference championships. Jed Carlson/Forum News Service3 / 3

You could hardly ask for better.

Both the Cloquet track teams claimed Lake Superior Conference championships at last Thursday's conference meet in Superior — but the Lumberjacks also won with some style.

Sophomore Kendra Kelley set two conference records: winning the 100 meters by nearly a full second in 12.46 seconds, and broke the long jump record by nearly six inches with a leap of 17 feet 1.75 inches. Kelley broke Jes Vork's conference record in the 100 set in 2006.

"Obviously, she did very well," coach Tim Prosen said. "But the thing I'm most happy about is that we got great team performances up and down the lineup. That's how you win championships."

Neither team competition was especially close. The boys team score of 189.50 was 39 points ahead of second-place Superior, while the girls score of 190.50 was 31 points ahead of second-place Hermantown.

"We tell them that it's all part of the process," Prosen said. "We weren't able to win the section True Team championship which is another one of our goals, but we did very well at the conference meet and we're proud of everyone."

Eighth-grader Katelyn Kelley was third in the 100, with the sibling duo finishing 1-2 in the 200 meters as well. Kendra won the race in 25.90 seconds, barely missing another conference record there as well, with Katelyn second in 27.87 seconds. Kendra Kelley finished a dominant day in the sprints by winning the 400 in 59.38 seconds, more than three seconds faster than the rest of the field. Her long-jump victory made her a quadruple winner.

Eighth-grader Lauren Cawcutt took second place in the 1600 meters for Cloquet with Anja Maijala fourth. Cawcutt took second in the two-mile run as well with Kellie Martin fifth and Elise Pickar eighth. Prosen has noted Pickar's consistency all season.

"She has been great for us," he said. "She, Silvie Deters (4x100 relay) and Katelyn Kelley have really come along for us this season."

Kelly Lorenz won the 100 and 300 hurdles for Cloquet, and the 4x200 relay team of Dana Jones, Elizabeth Couture, Sydney Wick and Katelyn Kelley also won. Of the four, Couture is a senior but none of the other three runners have yet advanced to 10th grade. Jones is a seventh-grader, Wick is a freshman and Kelley an eighth-grader.

Peyton Schneberger and Ilie Benson were 2-3 in the pole vault and first-year thrower Makayla Suominen took second place in both the shot and discus.

On the boys side, senior Conner Denman nosed out Ashland's Maury Miller to win the 800 meters in 2:01.96 and was sixth in the 400. Isaac Boedigheimer, Derrick Moe and Blaine Bong went 3-4-5 in the 1600 meters with Boedigheimer, Ethan Matzdorf and Blake Desmond finishing 2-3-4 in the 1600 meters.

"We like to try to be three deep at every event," Prosen said. "That depth is important and you saw it there."

Prosen also had kind words for Denman.

"I don't know if I've seen anyone more dedicated to running than Conner," he said. "He is going to LaCrosse next year and they have a great program. He will fit in very well there."

Eli Benson won the pole vault at 11 feet and Alex Leuzzo won the triple jump and finished second in the long jump.

"Here's someone I want to mention," Prosen said. "Alex sits in the background and does very well in those events. He scored more points than any boy on the team and he isn't one that gets the headlines. People like him are the reason we won."

As expected, Evan Erickson crushed the field in the weight events. He won the shot put by over five feet and the discus by over 10 yards, with teammate Dylan Lauer taking second place in the discus.

But in the end, the day was Kendra Kelley's.

"She works so hard," Prosen said. "Just the other day she was out there on a rainy track practicing her starts. She was the last one out there but she wasn't happy with how she was getting out of the blocks. We have to shoo her off the track sometimes — but that's why she's so good."