After a week of weather-related delays, the spring sports season finally got underway Thursday, April 15, in Esko.

Athletes from six schools gathered for the first track meet since 2019 after last season was lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The spring season was scheduled to start a week earlier, but all events in the area were canceled due to rain and snow — including a two-day postponement of the Esko meet.

The number of runners in heats were limited and heats staggered to keep as much distance between runners to prevent the spread of COVID-19, with many wearing masks at the race starts when social distancing wasn’t possible.

The hand-timed meet wasn’t scored, Esko coach Gary Beaudot said, but a number of athletes had strong showings.

Wrenshall sophomore Wesley Ward competes in the triple jump at the Esko track meet Thursday, April 15, 2021. Ward finished second in the event with a leap of 35 feet, 3.5 inches. (Jamey Malcomb / jmalcomb@pinejournal.com)
Wrenshall sophomore Wesley Ward competes in the triple jump at the Esko track meet Thursday, April 15, 2021. Ward finished second in the event with a leap of 35 feet, 3.5 inches. (Jamey Malcomb / jmalcomb@pinejournal.com)

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Esko senior Dylan Edland won the 100-meter dash in 12 seconds and the 300-meter hurdles in 44.83 seconds, a good start for one of three returning Eskomos with state meet experience. Edland was part of the 4x200 relay team that went to the state meet two years ago.

The other two state meet competitors, Esko seniors Zoie Johnson and Gage Stankiewicz, each won the discus and shot put events. Johnson won the discus with a throw of 108 feet, 6 inches and the shot put with a toss of 34-2.

Stankiewicz won the discus with a throw of 151 feet, nearly 20 feet longer than his closest competitor, Deekon Anvid, of South Ridge. He also won the shot put with a toss of 44-5.

Moose Lake-Willow River’s Jackson Thompson, a state competitor from two years ago, won the pole vault, clearing 11 feet — more than 3 feet higher than his closest competitor, Nick Sedberg of Esko.

The Eskomos’ Allison Thornton also won the high jump with a leap for 4-10.

Carlton's Sarah Cid competes in the 4x800 relay at the Esko track meet Thursday, April 15, 2021. The Bulldogs finished the race in 11 minutes, 56 seconds. (Jamey Malcomb / jmalcomb@pinejournal.com)
Carlton's Sarah Cid competes in the 4x800 relay at the Esko track meet Thursday, April 15, 2021. The Bulldogs finished the race in 11 minutes, 56 seconds. (Jamey Malcomb / jmalcomb@pinejournal.com)

Moose Lake-Willow River's Sam Stedin competes in the 4x800 meter relay at the Esko track meet Thursday, April 15, 2021. The Rebels finished the event with a time of 9 minutes, 20 seconds. (Jamey Malcomb / jmalcomb@pinejournal.com)
Moose Lake-Willow River's Sam Stedin competes in the 4x800 meter relay at the Esko track meet Thursday, April 15, 2021. The Rebels finished the event with a time of 9 minutes, 20 seconds. (Jamey Malcomb / jmalcomb@pinejournal.com)