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Prep cross country preview: Proctor's Wetterlind does double duty

Jordan Wetterlind woke at 6:30 a.m. Thursday and went to Proctor High School to lift weights. Later that morning, he competed for the Rails at a cross country meet at Chub Lake. That afternoon, he shot hoops for about 90 minutes before practicing...

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Proctor football player Jordan Wetterlind runs through drills during practice Thursday afternoon. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

Jordan Wetterlind woke at 6:30 a.m. Thursday and went to Proctor High School to lift weights.
Later that morning, he competed for the Rails at a cross country meet at Chub Lake. That afternoon, he shot hoops for about 90 minutes before practicing two hours with the Rails’ football team.
Busy?
Just wait till school starts.
Wetterlind, a Proctor senior, is doing double duty for the Rails this year after just running cross country last year. He is a multisport athlete with a focus on basketball, which he plans to play in college. On top of everything else, he works at Troy’s Amoco in Proctor.
“I try to stretch a lot, because doing two sports, you tend to get pretty tight because you’re using different muscle groups, especially with football,” Wetterlind said. “I just have to keep my strength and work on my endurance, all at the same time. It’s a delicate balance, that’s for sure.”
Lowell Harnell, who is in 18th season as Proctor cross country coach, said he has had runners play soccer in the fall but couldn’t think of one who ever played football.
“You don’t want to lose a good athlete by closing the door on them,” Harnell said. “If you’ve got a good athlete, you want to get the most out of them, and if your enrollment is getting smaller, you need to learn to share. There are only so many good athletes at a school. You just have to make it work. We’re going to give it a try.”
Wetterlind, a forward, already has scored 1,000 career points in basketball, averaging 21 points per game last winter. He’s 6-foot-2, 180 pounds and has a 34-inch vertical.
Wetterlind, a starting outside linebacker for the Rails, joked that he was talked into going out for football this year. He is rather new to lifting weights, meaning there is likely some untapped potential.
Wetterlind played football his sophomore year, when Proctor advanced to the Class AAA state semifinals, losing a 3-0 heartbreaker to eventual state champ St. Croix Lutheran.
Wetterlind ran cross country last fall, seeing remarkable improvement. As Wetterlind’s mileage increased, he watched as his 5-kilometer time went from 22 minutes at the start of the year to a personal record 18 minutes as the Rails finished 11th at the Class A state cross country meet in Northfield, Minn.
Wetterlind feels like he is picking up where he left off last fall.
“I really like the practice environment with cross country, just pushing yourself,” Wetterlind said. “With cross country, exactly what you put in is what you’re going to get out. It was cool to see improvement every meet. I fell in love with running, to be honest. I can go on a two-hour run and not even worry about anything, especially with trail running. It just clears your mind.”
Wetterlind also competed at the Class A state track and field meet this past June in St. Paul, helping Proctor’s 3,200-meter relay finish ninth. He competed in long jump, triple jump and high jump, with a best of 19 feet, 6 inches in the long jump.
“State is a completely different environment for all three (football, cross country and track),” Wetterlind said. “I like the team aspect of football, but I like cross-country practices. Cross country is just a different group of guys than football. They’re each good in their own way. Playing both keeps me out of trouble.”
LEADERS OF THE PACK
Besides Wetterlind, Proctor returns senior standout Kody Stevens, who finished 18th in Class A last year. Stevens also was a state track qualifier in the 800 and a member of the Rails’ 3,200 state-qualifying relay. Seniors Alex Mercier and Thomas Dougherty, and junior Ben Nicolson are also back from Proctor’s state team. On the girls side, sophomore Annika Voss and Hannah Bettendorf gives the Rails two of the area’s best.
“On the boys side, I’d say we’re as good as anybody around here,” Harnell said. “And the girls might even have a better shot, because we’ve got that one-two punch. They’re going to be in the top five at a lot of meets, and we’ve got a nice cast of younger girls coming up.”
Duluth East returns seniors Kendall Hill, Jackson Churchill and Jonathon Laughlin to what should be a very strong boys team. All seven girls from the Greyhounds’ Class AA 10th-place team return: seniors Phoebe Koski and Aria Plewa, junior Lauren Dynek, sophomores Nora Vos, Kelly Canavan and Izzy Sutherland and freshman Molly Weberg. There are 115 runners on the team.
Duluth Marshall returns freshman Ashlee Siegle, a girls state qualifier in cross country and track, and senior Andrew Jarocki to the boys team.
Cloquet returns junior Anja Maijala, the Northland’s top individual at last year’s Class AA girls meet, finishing 39th. Freshman Kelly Lorenz also returns after barely missing qualifying. The boys return junior Isaac Boedigheimer, who was tops among Northland AA state competitors in 20th. Junior Conner Denman also returns.
South Ridge returns seniors Gracelynn Otis, Anna Hall and Elizabeth Poskie from its Class A state-qualifying team last year.
Eveleth-Gilbert will be young on the boys and girls sides. The boys graduated standout Reed Melicher, who finished eighth individually in Class A and is now running and skiing at Michigan Tech. Junior Caleb Kelson and sophomores Jared Celley and Brandon Lopez return.
Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin returns junior Elyssa Peterson, the Northland’s top individual with a 15th-place finish in Class A last fall. She’ll captain the team along with Aislynn Petrich. The boys will be captained by state qualifier Noah Axley-Cuellar and Dylan Carlson.
Hibbing returns a pair of senior state qualifiers, Braden Curnow on the boys team and Emily Tromp on the girls squad. Sophomore Joshua Kemp has been an early season standout, taking fourth at the Twin Ports meet on Thursday.
Mesabi East returns senior Spencer Walchuk and juniors Chaz Herzog, Sam Hunt and Josh Jones but graduated Daniel Radtke from its third-place section team. Radtke recently signed to run at South Dakota State. The girls return seniors Abbey Whiting, a state qualifier, and Mariah Sheets, junior Emma Greenlee, another state qualifier, and freshman Abigail Sickel from a team that finished third at sections.

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Proctor cross country runner Jordan Wetterlind competes in a cross country meet at the Chub Lake recreation area near Carlton on Thursday morning. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at jnowacki@duluthnews.com or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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