Esko boys takes meet; county athletes shine
June 9, 2023
Esko is the Section 7A boys track champion this year after beating runner-up Crosby-Ironton by 10 points. Two Harbors took the girls title with International Falls taking second and also qualifying for the team state track meet.
Cromwell-Wright had a solid meet for the boys with a seventh-place finish as a team and a number of top finishes by individuals.
Boys state qualifiers
Noah Foster of Cromwell- Wright was the winner of the 3,200-meter run. He also ran in two relay teams that finished first as well.
"Noah has not lost to a section opponent this year and he was going out with the goal of running a 9:41," said Dave Foster, Noah's father, who is also the Cards head track coach. "He came up 1 second from the goal, but we're very happy with the results. Noah had three first-place finishes at sections and that makes for quite an awesome day."
Another Cardinals runner who had a big day was exchange student Roma Jacques, who won the 400-meter dash by less than a half-second over Dylan Schwarz of Deer River.
"The field was loaded in the 400," said coach Foster. "Roma stepped up and ran his fastest race of the season. If he runs like he should, he will make finals at state."
Cromwell-Wright also took first in the 4x400 and 4x800-meter relay events. The 4x400 team consisted of Dylan Nyberg, Jacques, Liam Schoenberg and Noah Foster. The 4x800 team consisted of Nyberg, Foster, Phoenix Anderson and Jacques.
Kaden Robbins of Moose Lake/Willow River finished second in the 100-meter dash. He also anchored the 4x100 relay that finished first for the Rebels. Also on that relay team were Jackson Thompson, Chase Clausen and Jaxsyn Schmidt.
"The boys relay team is returning to state where they finished seventh last year," said Rebels coach Noah Jurek. "They qualified in superb fashion by breaking our school record."
Thompson of ML/WR was also the winner in the pole vault with a vault of 13 feet.
The Rebels' JP Mesojedec was second in the shot put behind Esko's Wyatt Hudspith.
Hudspith led the Eskomos by taking first place in the shot put with a toss of 49-11.25. He followed that up with a first in the discus with a throw of 141-5, which made him an easy winner in that event.
Esko's Carter Zezulka won the 110 hurdles with a blazing time of 16:23 while teammate Braedyn Male tied Zezulka for second in the high jump.
Esko's 4x800-meter relay team of Alec Halvorson, Jacob Randa, Spencer Hipp and Ben Meysembourg finished second behind Cromwell-Wright.
Carlton/Wrenshall will also have a boy at the state meet as Jack Riley finished second in the 1,600-meter race, less than four seconds behind the winner Ian Thorpe from Two Harbors.
Girls state qualifiers
Emaleigh Olesiak of Cromwell-Wright was a second-place finisher in the 800 with a time of 2:30.42.
Esko's Gwen Lilly finished a close second in the 100 hurdles, running a time of 16:67 to qualify for her third straight state meet in the hurdles.
"Every year she continues to get better," said Esko girls coach Matt Peterson. "Her biggest growth and value comes from her leadership ability."
The Esko 4x100 relay team of Reese Kuklinski, Kaitlyn McConnell, Gwen Lilly and Liberty Clifford took first with a time of 51.45.
"Kaitlyn and Gwen were members of the last two 4x100 relay teams that were All-State," Peterson said. "Last year's group broke our school record and finished fourth. Liberty and Reese, both sophomores, joined Gwen and Kaitlyn this year and have established themselves as a very gritty and cohesive group that is very hungry to return to the podium for a third consecutive year."
McConnell also will go to state in the long jump after taking first with an amazing leap of 17 feet, ¾ inches, almost 2 feet better than the runner-up from Crosby-Ironton.
"Kaitlyn repeated as section champion in the long jump this year defending her title," Peterson said. "The whole goal going into a section meet is to qualify for the state meet. Kaitlyn was able to do so on her first and only attempt on Thursday, jumping over 17 feet and automatically qualifying for this weekend's state meet. Kaitlyn was an all-state jumper last year making finals and she will have a great shot at reaching the podium this year again."
The Rebels 4x200-relay team of Jocelyn Mundell, India Johnson, Morgan Wigg and Tyler Orvedahl finished second to a team from Two Harbors and, like the boys, the Rebels girls team set a school record in the process.
"They rebroke the school record which they broke just a couple of weeks ago," Jurek said.
Kaitaia Klemetsen of South Ridge won the high jump with a leap of 5-2.
"Kaitaia is a three-time Polar League conference champion, back-to-back north subsection champion, and back-to-back section champion in the high jump," said Panthers coach Jeremy Polson. "This will be her second year at State."
It was also another big meet for Barnum's Annaka Bogenholm, who finished second in both the shot put and the discus for a trip to state. Bogenholm's winning throw in the shot put was 35-6 and her toss in the discus was 101-7.
The state meet is June 8-10 at St. Michael-Albertville.