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County track stars make waves at state

More than 40 local athletes participated in the Minnesota Boys and Girls State Track meet last weekend at St. Michael-Albertville. A number of those athletes had top showings and made it to the finals.

Class AA boys

Miles Fischer had a big day for Cloquet by finishing in third place in the 1,600 meter run. The senior followed that up with a seventh place finish in the 3,200. He ran 4:18.43 in the 1600 and 9:39.20 in the 3,200.

"Miles Fischer almost got the 1600 record from 1985 of John Wodny," Cloquet coach Tim Prosen said, referring to the school record. "He was about two seconds short and it was a very fun race to watch. In the last 800, Miles just picked up the pace and was passing people. He had the race of his life. It was very fun to watch. If there had been one more lap with the way he was running, he could have passed anyone. It was a very competitive 1,600 for the boys this year."

Matt Erickson of Cloquet also had a seventh-place finish in the triple jump with a leap of 43 feet, ¼ inch as he continued a remarkable spring campaign.

Jordan Aultman had a busy couple of days as the senior finished eighth in the 100-meter dash in a time of 11.05. Aultman then ran on the 4x100 relay team with his brother Elijah, Noah Hansen and Reese Sheldon which finished in 43.18 and in eighth place. The Aultmans, Sheldon and Miigwan Tanner-Wostral also teamed up in the 4x200 which had the 13th best time in qualifying but did not make the nine team final.

"Jordan Aultman set the school record in the 100-meter dash in the prelims with a time of 11.01," Prosen said. "The boys 4x100 also set the school record in the prelims with a time of 42.99."

Class AA girls

Senior Taylor Wick led the Cloquet girls team with a trifecta of fifth-place finishes in three jumping events. In the high jump Wick jumped 5 feet, 2 inches, in the triple jump she leaped 36 feet, 11 inches and in the long jump she had a leap of 16 feet, 11¾ inches.

Seija Suominen also had a fifth place finish for the Lumberjacks in the discus with a toss of 116 feet, 5 inches.

Junior Alexa Shepherd qualified for the finals in the 400, where she finished eighth in a time of 59.99 seconds.

Shepherd was also part of the Cloquet 4x800 relay team along with Lauren Hughes, Charlotte Ripp and Erin "Soup" Loeb, which finished in seventh place in a time of 9:49.56.

Class A girls

The top local finisher in Class A for the girls was Kaitaia Klemetsen of South Ridge, who took third place in the high jump with a jump of 5 feet, 2 inches, which tied her personal best.

The coaching staff and Kaitaia were hoping for a top-nine finish, South Ridge coach Jeremy Polson said. "By finishing third, she certainly exceeded all expectations. Our coaching staff and Kaitaia are excited to prepare for next year."

Esko's Kaitlyn McConnell finished 13th in the long jump with a jump of 16 feet, 6 ½ inches.

Gwen Lilly of Esko finished 14th in the 100 hurdles and did not qualify for the finals. Only the top nine runners qualify.

The Esko 4x100 relay team of Reese Kuklinski, Liberty Clifford, Lilly and McConnell had a solid day with a 14th place finish in an impressive time of 51.83.

"Our girls did an amazing job this season. We expected to be in a year of transition with the loss of a very talented senior class and we were unfortunate with injuries to key returners," Esko girls coach Matt Peterson said. "We were a young group this year and saw amazing growth because they chose to give fantastic effort every day to improve. They also did a great job celebrating their teammates achievements and improvements throughout the year."

Cromwell-Wright's Emaleigh Olesiak ran a time of 2:30.42 in the 800-meter run - a personal best - and finished 14th.

Moose Lake/Willow River's 4x200 girls relay team ran a school record time of 1:48.33. The team finished in 11th place. The team consists of Jocelyn Mundell, India Johnson, Morgan Wigg and Tyler Orvedahl.

Barnum was also represented at the state meet by Annaka Bogenholm in both the shot put and discus. Her throw of 101 feet, 7 inches in the disc and her toss of 35 feet, 6 ½ inches in the shot put were good for 17th place in both events.

"We were really proud of Annaka's accomplishments this season," Barnum coach Jill Litfin said. "She is coming off of knee surgery from last season and to make it in both the discus and shot put was a big accomplishment. The first time down at the state meet can be intimidating but she did well with the added pressure and it was fun to see her compete."

Class A Boys

Cromwell-Wright had a number of top finishes at the state boys meet. Noah Foster ran to third place in the 3,200-meter run in an impressive time of 9:29.60, a school record for the Cardinals.

Foster's teammate, Roma Jacques, finished fifth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 50.64, which was also a school record.

Roma and Foster also teamed up on the 4x400 relay team which finished third and the 4x800 relay team which placed sixth. The 4x400 team also included Dylan Nyberg and Liam Schoenberg and Nyberg and Phoenix Anderson were the other half of the 4x800 team. Both relay teams set school records.

Foster now owns school records in the 800, 1,600, 3,200 and was part of the school record 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams.

"Overall the best state meet results our school has ever had. We scored 25 team points," Cromwell-Wright coach Dave Foster said.

Wyatt Hudspith of Esko continued the family tradition in the weights at the state meet. Hudspith launched a discus throw of 154 feet, 6 inches which was good for fourth place. Then he tossed the shot put 51 feet, 3 ¼ inches, which was good enough for fifth place. ML/WR thrower JP Mesojedic threw the shot put 47 feet, 5 ¼ inches which put him in 13th place.

"Wyatt's fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the disc and shot capped off a great State meet," said Esko boy's coach Gary Beaudot. "I am sure his performance put a big smile on grandpa Bill Hudspith's face."

ML/WR pole vaulter Jackson Thompson had an impressive vault of 12 feet, 9 inches for sixth place, capping "an amazing high school career," Rebels coach Noah Jurek said. "He qualified for the state meet four times in the pole vault. Along with three times in the 4x100-meter relay and once in the 4x200-meter relay. He was also nominated for Mr. Track and Field this year."

Thompson also was joined by Jaxsyn Schmidt, Chase Clausen and Kaden Robbins in the 4x100 relay, which took 10th place.

Robbins also ran finished 15th in the 100-yard dash.

Wrenshall's Jack Riley was 13th in the 1,600-meter run in a time 4:34.9, which was a personal best for the junior. "Jack became the first-ever Carlton/Wrenshall Raptors athlete to compete in the state track meet," coach Kevin Olesen said. "He ran the 1,600 in front of family members and teammates. ... It was a fast pace and it was a battle from start to finish and Jack ran just about as well as he could have and we're proud of him."

Braedyn Male of Esko leaped 6 feet in the high jump and tied for 12th.

Esko's Carter Zezulka ran a time of 16.56 in the 110-meter high hurdles, which was good enough for 18th place.

"Our boy's finished the season on a positive note without the state's top Class A sprinter," said Esko boy's coach Gary Beaudot, whose team was without Koi Perich due to injury. "Carter Zezulka qualified in the hurdles, which was amazing in his first season of hurdling and Braedyn Male was hoping for a better jumping day, but he now knows what it's like jumping in the show."

Spencer Hipp, Jacob Randa, Alec Halvorson and Ben Meysembourg teamed up for Esko in the 4x800 relay. A time of 8:30.90 placed them 18th in the field.

"Our 4x800 team ran another great race," Beaudot said.