The Hawk Invite isn’t run in Esko, but maybe it ought to be. The Esko girls again won the annual event last Friday, as they toasted the field of competition, scoring 210 total points and winning 10 of the 17 events at Corey Veech Memorial Field in Hermantown.

The Esko girls again won the annual event last Friday, as they toasted the field of competition, scoring 210 total points and winning 10 of the 17 events at Corey Veech Memorial Field in Hermantown.

“I think we’ve won it the last three or four years now,” Esko girls track and field coach Tim Lindquist said. “We’ve been going there for a number of years. And we look to compete and win it.”

The Eskomos are clear juggernauts around the local running circles. Last week they dominated the oval again by winning all four relay races and claiming half a dozen individual titles.

Janae Beaudot headed Esko’s cast of champions, as the senior won both the high and long jumps, while classmate Alyson Glumac took home the 100-yard dash crown. Standout sophomores Kallyn Knutson and defending state cross country champ Marisa Shady were also stellar. Knutson won the 3,200-meter run and Shady was the 400-meter dash victor. Eighth-grader Kailee Kiminski also earned the 1,600 win.

“I’m pleased with where we’re at,” Lindquist said. “But really, we haven’t gotten outside on the track much. Friday gave us an idea of what being fast really is like opposed to being on the sidewalk or football field.”

Last Friday’s pleasant weather was an ideal day for the competition between 12 teams, including fellow local participants AlBrook-Cotton-Cherry-Tower-Soudan, Barnum, Carlton and Wrenshall.

“Just to get on a track on a good day was nice,” said Lindquist.

Esko also managed to secure one of the top spots in the boys’ field, as they finished third overall with 104.5 points, winning three total events. They trailed only Hermantown and boys champion Two Harbors. In addition to their 3,200- and 1,600-meter relay titles, junior distance runner Jackson Lindquist topped the 3,200 individual honors.

Esko boys coach Gary Beaudot just liked the weather.

“It was a beautiful day for a meet,” he said. “The season is almost over here, but it was nice for the kids to get out and have a chance to enjoy things.”

Barnum girls coach Patty Jerde agreed with Beaudot.

“It was so nice being in weather where you didn’t have to prepare for it to feel like 20-below,” she laughed. “It was, definitely, a nice relief.”

The Bombers fared near the middle of the pack in both the boys and girls divisions, scoring 41 points for the boys and 30 for the girls.

Barnum senior Andrew Youngren was the highlight for the boys, placing third in the discus, while the Bombers’ 800-meter relay team also placed third. For the girls, senior Mercedes Loney-Adams took second in the shot put.

“It was a wonderful competition,” continued Jerde. “There were a lot of talented kids there. You could tell they were trying to ‘let it fly’ out there. We have some injured runners on both the boys and girls ends, but I was pleased.”

Carlton’s depth was also lagging last week. Usually sporting 20 athletes, Coach Andy Wyman’s crew was down to 12 at the Hawk Invite. The Bulldogs scored 26 points for the girls and 12 for the boys.

“We didn’t have all of our kids, but I thought they stepped up and did OK,” Wyman said. “We actually did better than I thought that we were going to do.”

Carlton junior Lindsey Dahl-Holm was the sparkplug for the girls, placing third in the high jump and fourth in the 3,200 run, while for the boys, their 1,600 relay team was their highest finish, coming in fourth place.

Like most of the coaches, Wyman just enjoyed the sunny, mild afternoon.

“It was nice,” he said, noting they’ve now had two nice meets in a row with last Friday and Tuesday’s Two Harbors Meet, participating along with Esko. “We’ve gotten a couple in a row now. That’s good for us.”

“Tuesday might have rivaled last week for the best weather yet,” added Tim Lindquist with a laugh. “It was close.”

On the flipside, Jeremy Polson hasn’t had to worry about weather all that much, coaching his widespread AlBrook-Cotton-Cherry-Tower-Soudan Falcons.

“I don’t know how we’ve lucked out so much, but every time we seem to have a meet, it is sunny outside,” he laughed. “We’ve been hitting the nice days.”

They’ve also been hitting the scoreboard.

As one of the smaller schools competing last week, the Falcons girls placed fourth with 50 points behind Esko, Hermantown and Two Harbors. The AlBrook boys racked up 43.5. Overall, their coach was impressed, but not surprised.

“This might be the best girls team we’ve had in school history,” Polson said. “We look good on the track and scored or placed well in every event. We don’t have as many numbers on the boys’ side, but we’ve got some talented ones there, too.”

For the girls, sophomore Emma Blom and seventh-grader Gracie Otis – who went to state in cross country last fall – lead the Falcons as distance runners and are almost automatic point-getters. Last Friday, sophomore Breena Alfredson won the 200-meter dash, too.

For the AlBrook boys, senior Vincent Lipinski claimed second in the 200 dash, while junior Zachary Richards posted second in the 1,600 and third in the 3,200.

Wrenshall finished near the bottom, earning 6.5 points on the girls end, along with half a dozen points from their boys.

But points weren’t really a concern anyway. The weather was perfect. And to most living up here this spring, that’s a win in the scorebook. Hats off to Mother Nature