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New Cloquet track shines in debut

The Lumberjacks track and field teams held their first home meet Tuesday at the newly renovated Members Cooperative Credit Union Stadium.

"We've got a great facility," said head coach Tim Prosen. "We're really excited."

While everything is shiny and new, Prosen and assistant coach Michelle Wick really praised the arrangement of the renovated facility.

"The layout is way nicer," Wick said. "The kids can stay warmed up easier on the infield turf, which is also just better on their legs. And the new track is a lot softer."

"It's good for our athletes," Prosen added.

The $4.9 million athletic complex features an entirely new track - which was widened to accommodate the new turf field - with pole vaulting and jumping events relocated around the perimeter. The shot put and discus pits are located outside the stadium, where the tennis courts used to be.

Prosen called Tuesday more of a participation meet.

"The kids signed up for a lot of their own events," he said. "We were just focused on getting kids out there."

Still, there were several noteworthy performances by Cloquet athletes, including senior Joe Bailey, who took first place in both the long jump and high jump, and second place in the triple jump, earning the most field points (16) of any Cloquet boy. Mason Sundquist placed first in the shot put and second in discus. Cloquet did not take first place in the pole vault, but did sweep the next four places.

"We had a lot of boys jump very well," said Wick, who coaches jumping and sprinting. "The future of jumping looks really good."

The boys 4x100 meter boys team (Aidan Nelson, Elijah Aultman, Noah Hansen and Nashton Johansen) was also impressive, Wick said. Additionally, Cloquet also took first and second place in the 3200-meter relay, and first in the 400-meter relay and 1600-meter relay. Andrew Shepherd placed first in the 800-meter run.

On the girls side, Alli Wiex placed first in the pole vault. Isabella Avey placed first in the 100-meter dash, while Alexa Shepherd took first in the 400-meter run and Makenzie Lynch placed first in the 300-meter hurdles.

Wick said the girls 4x800 relay team did well with an unexpected group of girls: Makenzie Lynch, Olivia Battaglia, Erin "Soup" Loeb and Kennedy Wick.

The Cloquet boys team finished first Tuesday, with 107 points to 90 for Proctor, 37 for Superior and 25 for Hermantown. The Cloquet girls took second. Proctor was first with 102, followed by Cloquet with 91, Superior with 43 and Hermantown with 35.

Standing at the finish line of a junior high track meet the next day, Prosen said the weather has been par for the course.

"The first two days of practice were honestly some of the nicest days we've had, but we're used to [canceling] meets in April," he said. "We scheduled two per week in April and hope to get one in. This week we'll get two, last week we got none. The week before we got one. We'll make it work."

Prosen was optimistic after Tuesday.

"We'll put together a varsity lineup later on, but we can do some things here and be pretty solid as a team," he said.