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Articles written by Howie Hanson


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  • Esko rebounds, takes third at State

    Howie Hanson|Jun 21, 2024

    Top-seeded Esko got off to a strong start in its quest for back-to-back Class AA baseball state championships with a 3-2 quarterfinal win over Montevideo on June 13 at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud. A 4-0 semifinal loss to Foley the next day, also at Dick Putz, foiled Esko’s state title aspirations. But Esko responded immediately afterwards with a workmanlike 4-1 win over Le Sueur-Henderson in the third-place game. Esko jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning in the quarterfinal against M... Full story

  • Backs to the wall ... then back to State

    Howie Hanson|Jun 14, 2024

    A mostly failed Section 7AA championship surprise Gatorade shower, courtesy of his giddy players, sent legendary Esko baseball skipper Ben Haugen ducking for cover during an onfield post-game interview. The coach, who is quick enough to dodge drops during the rain storms that peppered section play last week, was equally adept at explaining how his team won a second-straight 7AA title by clipping Duluth Marshall 10-3 and 4-2 last Thursday night at Wade Stadium in Duluth. It was a stunning... Full story

  • No. 1 Esko remains the team to beat

    Howie Hanson|May 17, 2024

    Defending Minnesota Class AA baseball champion Esko will carry a 15-0 record into a split doubleheader against Pequot Lakes and Moose Lake/Willow River Friday afternoon in Moose Lake. "We defeated Pequot Lakes 2-0 last season and expect another competitive game against them, and Moose Lake is improving with some veteran leaders," said Esko head coach Ben Haugen. Ranked No. 1 in Class AA, Esko will face a greater challenge next week, with a home game against Duluth Marshall on Monday, May 20,... Full story

  • State champion Esko looking for a repeat

    Howie Hanson|Apr 12, 2024

    Big-time pitching carried Esko to its first Class AA high school state baseball championship last spring. Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year Cale Haugen graduated, but the team will lean on pitchers Finn Furcht and Dylan Marciulionis to make another run. The three combined to limit three opponents to just six hits at state, as Esko clipped St. Agnes 1-0, Cannon Falls 7-2 and Perham 9-0 in the final at CHS Field in St. Paul. "We needed Cale to be great in the opener, which he was, in one of hi... Full story

  • Esko notches Cloquet sweep

    Howie Hanson|Feb 16, 2024

    Esko completed a boys basketball home-and-home sweep against Cloquet on Tuesday night, coasting to an 83-66 nonconference victory in Esko. Adding to the celebration was senior guard Koi Perich becoming his school's career scoring leader following a contested layup with 13 minutes, 3 seconds remaining in the second half. Esko, ranked seventh in Class AA by Minnesota Basketball News, led 44-23 at the half and never looked back. Sam Haugen had 24 points, Perich added 18 and Braedyn Male had 16 for... Full story

  • Esko rises to the challenge

    Howie Hanson|Feb 9, 2024

    Esko and Pequot Lakes are located 107 miles apart, compete in separate conferences and are fierce competitors in Section 7AA high school boys basketball. A Pine Knot News analysis of recent regular- and post-season game results between the storied programs shows how acutely competitive their rivalry is, with the Patriots holding a 6-5 won-loss lead since the 2018-19 season. Pequot Lakes has won three straight 7AA championships, including two finals victories against Esko. Esko is 2-3 against the Patriots in regular- and post-season play in the... Full story

  • Here's the pitch

    Howie Hanson|May 21, 2021

    Cloquet's Amanda Paul received the pitching start at Duluth Denfeld Friday and picked up a win as the Lumberjacks cruised to a 6-0 victory.... Full story

  • Esko softball

    Howie Hanson|May 7, 2021

    Hard-throwing Esko right-hander Miranda Kelly received the pitching start at Duluth Denfeld on Monday afternoon.... Full story

  • Not Enough

    Howie Hanson|Feb 5, 2021

    The Lumberjacks, left, celebrate a goal by Jaxson Ochis against Duluth East at Essentia Duluth Heritage Center Monday. Duluth East broke open a tight game with three third-period goals to defeat Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 5-1, after defeating the 'Jacks 2-1 earlier this season in Cloquet. Cole Christian finished with a hat trick for the Greyhounds.... Full story

  • Lumberjacks standouts take stock on season

    Howie Hanson|Feb 7, 2020

    Cloquet hockey players Christian Galatz and Owen Carlson took some questions before Monday night's road game at Duluth East. Both can be considered stars on a team that is looking to make a strong push toward a state tournment berth this year. Christian Galatz Q Has the Jacks' challenging regular-season schedule prepared the team for the stretch run? A Yeah, it's definitely a tough schedule. We've come ready to play and had a good mindset every day. Q The Jacks' identity? A Offensive team,... Full story

  • Lumberjacks boys look to improve

    Howie Hanson|Nov 22, 2019

    Second-year Cloquet-Esko- Carlton boys' hockey coach Shea Walters says he's been impressed by his players' commitment to improving their craft this off-season. "The kids stayed very active in hockey all summer and fall, including some players who competed in the Elite League," said Walters, who guided CEC to a 14-12-1 record last season and a Section 7AA semifinal appearance. Last season, CEC was built for a strong run in the playoff, led by a handful of high-end players including three-year...