Prep report: Jameson, Lumberjacks capture rare Section 7AA girls track title
Grand Rapids outpaces Cloquet for the boys team title.
NORTH BRANCH, Minn. — Cloquet senior Olivia Jameson added a 100 hurdles title and thirds in the triple jump and 800-meter relay in leading the Lumberjacks to the rarest of titles, a girls team victory Saturday, June 4, in the Section 7AA track and field championships.
Just how rare?
“I don’t know if we’ve ever won this type of title,” Cloquet track coach Tim Prosen said. “We have won True Team titles but not titles in the (Minnesota State High School League-sanctioned) section meet — not in modern times.”
The top two individuals and relays advance to next week’s state meet at St. Michael-Albertville High School.
This is the first year of three-class track in Minnesota and the Lumberjacks seized on the absence of powerhouses such as Forest Lake, Andover, Elk River or whoever standing in the way in previous years, even though Cloquet, for its size, is a Northland program to be envied. Look at the Lumberjacks’ list of coaches on the MSHSL website, and it’s a small army. People care.
Jameson’s performance was in addition to her victory in the high jump from Wednesday’s opening day, part of a 1-2-3 sweep for the Lumberjacks in the event as junior Taylor Wick was second and senior Caley Kruse was third.
Wick also had a good day Saturday, winning the triple jump, while teammate Lydia Stone won the 400, was fourth in the long jump and ran legs of the Lumberjacks’ 800 and 1,600 relays, which finished third and fourth, respectively.
In addition, Cloquet senior Bella Harriman added seconds in shot put and discus, giving the Lumberjacks a 1-2 finish in the latter with teammate Seija Suominen winning with a mark of 118 feet, 6 inches.
Cloquet finished with 176 points, with North Branch second with 151 and Hibbing third with 94.
Hibbing senior Julia Gherardi was the meet’s outstanding performer, winning the pole vault in 12 feet, 3 inches — a mark that would have won the boys title. Gherardi is a defending state champion in the event. She also won the 100 in 12.93 seconds while anchoring the Bluejackets’ winning 400 relay and second-place 800 relay.
Grand Rapids senior strongman Jackson Weston defended his titles in the throwing events in leading the Thunderhawks to the boys team title. Grand Rapids finished with 150 points, with Cloquet second with 116 points and Proctor third with 110.
Weston won the shot put with a mark of 56 feet, 10 inches — winning by more than eight feet — and he won the discus in 152-6, winning by more than seven feet. That easily bettered his 51-9.5 and 142-2 marks from a year ago.
“Grand Rapids has some really good high-end boys,” Prosen said.
Among outstanding performers, Rock Ridge’s Cameron Stocke is in a league of his own. He won the 1,600 in 4:21.20, with Proctor’s Josh Knight (4:41.54) and Duluth Denfeld’s Charles Juntunen (4:51.22) so far back they couldn’t see him. Stocke won the 800 in 1:55.87 but got a stiff challenge from Hermantown’s Andrew Schmitz, second in 1:57.89. Stocke posted a ridiculous 1:54.67 in prelims. And he's just a junior.
In Wednesday’s boys 3,200, Cloquet’s Jacob Mertz (9:54.89) and Rock Ridge’s Aaron Nelson (10:05.93) posted times that should have them eyeing strong finishes at next week’s state meet.
“Our boys are pretty balanced — lots of mid-pack placers that we can build a solid team around,” Prosen said. “We will be sending 11 girls and 12 boys. I am excited because I know this group will just keep getting better.”
Thompson nets top-five finish for Tigers at state meet
Northwestern senior C.J. Thompson scored points in both of his last appearances as a Tigers athlete, taking sixth in the Division 2 boys 110-meter hurdles and seventh in the 300-meter hurdles finals at Saturday's WIAA state track and field meet in La Crosse.
Thompson ran a 15.71 in the 110 final, finishing .04 of a second out of the top four. Lucas Heyroth of Lodi dominated both hurdles events, winning the 110 by .35 seconds and the 300 by .67 seconds. Thompson ran a 41.19 in the 300.
His five points amounted to Northwestern's total in the meet, as the Tigers' other athlete competing Saturday, high jumper Monte Mayberry, did not clear on his three attempts. Northwestern tied for 41st.
Northwood/Solon Springs freshman Cade Lisson finished just outside the points in ninth place in the Division 3 400 meters. Running 51.93, Lisson was .04 seconds short of eighth, though he was competing against seven seniors and two juniors in the final.
State tournament field announced
Proctor earned the top seed in the MSHSL state Class AA softball tournament in brackets released on Saturday.
The Rails (22-1), whose only loss came to Superior on May 18, will open tournament play in North Mankato against Pipestone Area (14-9) at 9 a.m. The Arrows are the lowest-ranked remaining team in the field based on the statewide QRF (Quality Results Formula), but have won the last five Section 3AA tournaments contested and finished fourth in 2021.
Moose Lake/Willow River (24-4), which lost 3-1 at Proctor on May 9 and won five elimination games last week in the Section 7A tournament by a combined score of 52-2, is the No. 2 seed in Class A. The Rebels will face Wabasha-Kellogg (13-12) at 1 p.m. on Thursday.
Both teams would play a second game on Thursday in either the state semifinals or consolation bracket. MLWR will see either Randolph or Upsala, while Proctor's second opponent will be either Maple Lake or St. Cloud Cathedral.
Superior also received its assignment in the WIAA Division 1 tournament. The Spartans (18-2) are the fifth seed in the eight-team bracket and will play No. 4 Cedarburg (24-4) in the fourth of four quarterfinals in the single-elimination tournament at 2 p.m. at Goodman Diamond in Madison. A win in that game will net the Spartans a late-night (9 p.m.) semifinal against top-seeded Kaukauna, which defeated the Spartans earlier in the season, or Oshkosh West.
East golfer is section medalist
Duluth East's Ben Mertz shot an even-par 72 on the second of two days of Section 7AAA golf competition at Grand National in Hinckley, winning medalist honors for the 36-hole event with a combined total of 3-over 147.
Mertz finished three shots ahead of Princeton's Lucas Ostlund, though Princeton took home the team title with 624. Mertz will compete for the Greyhounds in the AAA state meet on June 14-15 at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. East's team carded a 323 on the first day, one shot short of what was necessary to advance to the second day in a crowded leaderboard.
As individuals, Tim Balthazor and Alexander Wold finished tied for 19th and solo 21st, respectively.
Elk River won the girls' 7AAA crown. East was 11th.
Duluth East 7, Anoka 1
Charlie Sutherland allowed one unearned run in a complete game as seventh-seeded Duluth East kept its season alive and eliminated the Tornadoes. Sutherland struck out nine and walked four.
Dylan Cole and Dylan Manchester had two hits apiece for the Greyhounds, who'll meet Blaine in a rematch of the first round on Monday in Princeton.
Grand Rapids 14, Hermantown 1
The Thunderhawks moved one win away from a successful defense of the Section 7AAA title with a commanding victory on their home field. Ben Keske, Nolan Svatos and Klous Jones all had two hits, scored at least twice and drove in at least one run.
Easton Sjostrand allowed one run on three hits in four innings for Rapids.
Hermantown will host the rest of the bracket, starting with an elimination game at home against the winner of Duluth Denfeld, which eliminated North Branch 6-5 at Wade Stadium on Saturday night, and Chisago Lakes, which bounced Hibbing 7-0.