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Double the fun as 'Jacks sweep track titles

The Cloquet boys and girls track teams both captured top honors in the Lake Superior Conference track meet last week. The Lumberjacks boys team scored 177 points to outdistance runner-up Superior by 42 points. The girls team scored 170 points, defeating second-place Superior by 7 points.

"Every year we set a goal to sweep the Lake Superior Conference to put two more plaques on the wall," said head coach Tim Prosen. "For the past decade we've been consistently contending for the title, sweeping almost every year."

The Lumberjack boys team had numerous great performers with depth being a big factor in the win. Among the day's top performers were Matt Erickson, who won three individual events, and Miles Fischer, who won two. Erickson won the triple jump, long jump and the high jump while Fischer won both the 1600- and 3200-meter runs.

"Matthew has been a secret weapon for us," Prosen said. "With his baseball schedule, he has not been to too many track meets, but he is incredibly talented in the jumps. Miles is performing at a very high level right now. He is a rare runner that in the same meet can run the 1600, then 3200, then shortly after the 3200 he can jump into the 4x400."

Calvin Snesrud finished first in the 800-meter run and also added a third-place finish in the 400-meter run. Jordan Aultman was a close second in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes, while teammate Reese Sheldon was fourth in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races.

Cloquet placed first in the 4x100 relay with Elijah Aultman, Tyceon Johnson, Noah Hansen and Jordan Aultman combining for the win. The 4x200 relay team consisting of Johnson, Emmett Prosen, Hansen and Miigwan Tanner-Wostrel took second place in that event. The 4x400 relay team of Snesrud, Prosen, Tanner-Wostrel and Fischer was third and the 4x800 team of Michael Kruse, Prosen, Seth Rothamel and Andrew Shepherd finished fourth.

Lance Konietzko and Mason Sundquist finished fourth and fifth in the shot put, Aric Johnson was fourth in the pole vault and Joe Bailey chipped in with a fifth-place finish in the triple jump.

Girls inspire

Over on the girls side, Alexa Shepherd finished first in the 400 and also added second in the 800-meter run. Erin Loeb was third in the 400 and the 800 while Charlotte Ripp added a fourth-place finish in the 800 as well.

"Shepherd is just an absolute hard-worker," said Prosen. "Watching her race is a picture of pure determination. She is an inspiration to the team."

Makenzie Lynch grabbed first place in the 300-meter hurdles and for good measure took third in the 100-meter hurdles.

"She is an eighth-grader who is stepping into a high school meet in a high-pressure situation and is just going out there relaxed and racing well," Prosen said. "She does not know how good she is right now; the sky's the limit for her. She is very passionate about track and is having a great time. We are lucky to have four more years to develop her as an athlete."

Seija Suominen also had a big day, taking first in the discus and second in the shot put.

"We knew we were down by 4 points with only discus left," Prosen said. "We also knew we had Seija and Ahna Demenge in the finals for disc and Superior only had one in the finals. Superior took seventh, Ahna sixth, and Seija went out there and put a first-place throw. We knew at that point our team won the meet."

Taylor Wick was super-impressive with first-place finishes in the high jump and the triple jump as well as a second-place finish in the long jump.

"Taylor has really upped her game this year: she is very strong in the jumps," Prosen said. "Her mom, coach Michelle Wick, has worked with her and all of our jumpers tirelessly, and the success is showing. Again, another field-eventer quietly going out there and scoring a ton of points to get us the team win."

Alexa Snesrud was fourth in the high jump and fourth in the 200, and Charlotte Ripp added a fifth-place finish in the 1600. Autumn Peterson was sixth in the pole vault while Kennedy Wick and Makenzie Lynch were fourth and fifth, respectively, in the long jump. Macava Smith added a fifth-place finish in the triple jump for the 'Jacks.

The relays saw Cloquet pick up two second-place finishes, and a third-place and a fourth-place finish. In the 4x100 it was Kaley Will, Sarah Turner, Kennedy Wick and Isabella Avey taking third. The 4x200 relay team of Will, Kennedy Wick, Turner and Lauren Hughes was second. In the 4x400 it was Erin "Soup" Loeb, Alexa Shepherd, Charlotte Ripp and Hughes finishing second and the 4x800 team of Bri LaCore, Makayla Stirewalt, Victoria Nelson and Sarah Blais was fourth.

"For me, it makes all of our hard work a little more worth it," Prosen said. "We have a great group of dedicated coaches and our athlete success is no accident."

On Saturday, the Cloquet boys team traveled to the 2023 State True Team championships, where they took 10th place in AA boys.

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