(Northland's NewsCenter) --- Defending Class A state cross country champion Marisa Shady earned another trip to the state meet last week, and this time she will be joined by her Esko teammates.
"This year, our main focus has been our team," Shady said. "We're looking to go down to state and give it a shot at the state title, actually. We said in order to do that we all need to run hard here, and we can't just settle. We can't just let it be good enough. We have to push ourselves because, at the state level, you're not going to be able to relax. You're going to have go as hard as you can."
Not only do these Eskomos run hard, but all five of Esko's top runners were playing a second sport this fall season.
"It's hard, but in the end, when you do so well, it's all worth it," Eskomos freshman and Section 7A runner-up Kailee Kiminski said.
"You learn to deal with it," Shady said. "You kind of learn time management. It was a little bit tough on the legs. I could feel that my legs weren't up to their full potential."
As for the boys, Mesabi East will also be sending their Section 7A championship team to the state cross country meet, led by third place finisher Drew Johnson.
"It means the world. We've been waiting all year for this. Last year, we got beat out by just a few points by Crosby-Ironton, so we were just looking to get down there one way or another," Johnson said. "Personally, I'm looking for a top-25 finish this year, which is All-State. Last year, I was 49th, so I am hoping to improve on that. The team, we're looking for either top-five or top-three, whatever we can do down there. It will be close."
In total, 24 individuals and four teams will represent the Northland at the MSHSL Class A and AA boy's and girl's cross country meets this Saturday.
Posted by Zach Schneider