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Tom’s Sports Notes: Minnesota State Cross Country Meet Includes Runners from Esko and Proctor + More

The very best high school cross-country runners are from the Northland.

The Minnesota State Cross-Country meet was dominated by the area runners, Proctor senior Matt Welch was perfect for the year.  He never lost a race this season, including the state race on Saturday. 9 races, 9 wins.

Welch had a time of 15 minutes and 34 seconds.  He said after the race, “It really hasn’t sunk in yet standing here at the finish line.  This has been the best season for me, this year.”

He wasn’t the only one to return home with a championship.  The Esko Eskomos girl’s cross-country team won the Class A team title.  They were led by Marisa Shady, who was 5th overall in a time of 14:44.  She won a state title herself back in 2010 and was 3rd overall a year ago.

The team title for Esko in girls cross-country was their 2nd in school history, the last came back in the 1980 season.

The state meet was held at St. Olaf College in Northfield, and Welch liked the layout of the course.  He said, “This is the best season for me, I love the hills, the more hills the better.”  He added that, running the hills are a big part of his training.

The last Proctor High School boy’s runner to win the state meet was Garry Bjorklund back in 1968.  Bjorklund went on to be a star runner in college and made the U.S. Olympic team in 1976.

Esko boys were 6th overall in Class A and the Proctor Rails finished 11th overall.  Matt Welch’s brother, Jacob was 2nd on the Rails team about 90 seconds after his brother.  Jacob was 30th overall.

The amazing part of Shady and her team is that Shady also competes on the Esko girl’s soccer team also in the fall; many of them play two sports in the same season.  This year they reached the section title game.

The Esko team won by 35 points over the 2nd place team, Annandale.  International Fall was also at the girls meet, and they placed 16th with 302 points.

In the Class AA races, the top Northland girl’s runner was Erin Baker of Grand Rapids who was 62nd overall in a time of 15:15.  The top boy’s runner in Class AA was also a Grand Rapids runner, Colin Cottingham in a time of 16:31 who was 46th overall.

The Minnesota High School volleyball tournament starts this week, and the Northland will have one team at the tourney, that’s North Woods High School, making their very first state tournament trip at who are 23-3.  The Grizzlies beat Carlton for the Section 7A title on Saturday afternoon 3 games to none.  They are playing at the Xcel Energy Center on Thursday afternoon.  They will face Minneota, who is 29-3 and is the 2nd seed in the tournament.

The UMD men’s hockey team did not play over the weekend; they will play in a rare, Saturday-Sunday series at Nebraska-Omaha.  The Bulldogs did drop three spots in the national polls, from 17th to 20th this week in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll.  UMD goes back on the road after that, to North Dakota.  They won’t be back at home until November 23rd and 24th vs. St. Cloud State.

The Minnesota Timberwolves get there first road win of the year last night, again playing without stars, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio as they were facing Brooklyn Nets for the first time, since moving from New Jersey.  Brooklyn led 62-47 at the half.  Minnesota was down 22 points at one point, and rallied to win 107-96.  Nikola Pekovic with 21 points and 6 rebounds and Chase Budinger with 16 points.  Brooklyn was led by Joe Johnson who had 19 points.

But the big score tonight, will come from you.  Get out and vote today!!!

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