Prep track: Fonger flies for Spartans; runs first sub 11-second 100 for Superior in 25 years

Senior clocks a 10.87 in meet last week at NBC Spartan Sports Complex.
Superior’s Carter Fonger, right, edges out Cloquet’s Reece Sheldon to win the 100 meter dash during the triangular at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Tuesday May 4, 2021. (Jed Carlson /

Carter Fonger was always a fast runner who stood out at local track and field meets.

Fonger wasn’t one to look like the slender fly-like-the-wind types. He's more of the meatier variety, but make no mistake, he’s plenty fleet of foot.

And this year, he’s even faster, as evidenced by his 10.87-second clocking in winning the 100 meters at a meet May 18 at NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior.

“I was a little bit surprised,” Fonger said. “It was a hand time, so it was maybe not the most accurate but I trust the coaches who run the meets and the times. Everything from freshman year until now has just been building on this year. I feel good.”

It had been 25 years since a Superior runner clocked a sub 11-second hand time when Steve Burkholder ran a 10.7 in 1996. Burkholder also holds the Spartans’ 200-meter record in 21.9 seconds.


Fonger’s previous record was 11.3 seconds but that was two years ago, as last year’s track season was wiped out by COVID-19. He broke that mark right out of the gate this spring.

If the muscle-bound Fonger looks like a football player trapped in a track uniform it’s because he is a football player. Football is his favorite. The running back also had his football season delayed to the spring due to the pandemic.

Fonger scored a late touchdown as Superior handed Notre Dame its first loss of the season in the Spartans’ season finale May 1 in Green Bay. Two days later he was in track practice and about a week after that he was winning races.

“He jumped right in and didn’t miss a beat,” Spartans coach Kris Leopold said. “He’s the first guy in the weight room and the last to leave, every time.”

Fonger is one of about a dozen football players on the track team. He missed the Spartans’ track meet Tuesday, May 25, because he was visiting Southwest Minnesota State, an NCAA Division II scholarship program in Marshall, Minnesota, that is coached by former NFL and Minnesota Gophers quarterback Cory Sauter.

“We knew a couple years ago for Carter to get some really good (college) looks he had to run under 11,” Leopold said. “I told Fonger that last year, not having track, was a rough deal. Southwest caught wind he ran a 10.87, and I’m OK with him missing that meet because he’s maybe going to a better college. I’m really happy for him, because before he leaves me, I want to get him the best I can get him.”

Fonger said Southwest Minnesota State wants him as a preferred walk-on, with a chance to eventually earn a scholarship.

Perhaps some schools overlooked Fonger because of his size — 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds — but Fonger doesn’t look at it that way.


With COVID-19, it’s been a tough year for recruiting.

Fonger was asked if it has been frustrating.

“No, not really, because I know it’s been hard for everybody, recruiting and everything like that, it’s been difficult for everyone,” he said. “A lot of college seniors who missed out on their seasons can come back for another year, so that impacts it a lot. Teams are carrying heavier rosters, so they aren’t recruiting as heavily.”

Fonger has a big meet Friday, May 28, in River Falls that should kind of serve as a regional/sectional preview as it will feature all Big Rivers Conference competition.

Two years ago he finished seventh at sectionals in the 100 but this year he would like to finish in the top three and advance to the state meet.

If he runs a 10.87, one would have to like his chances.

“Me, too,” Fonger said, laughing. “Me, too.”

Best of the rest

Jordan Goldfine, Courdin Nelson-Scaggs, Ethan Defoe, Isaiah Essien, Josh Lambert and Ross Rivord are among the other football players out for track.


Goldfine is Superior’s best jumper and is on the Spartans’ strong 400 relay. Nelson-Scaggs is a junior out for track for the first year and can run the 100 in 11.7.
Superior’s Ross Rivord throws the shot put during the triangular at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Tuesday May 4, 2021. (Jed Carlson /

DeFoe and Jake Kidd are two new additions to the team.

“They are soccer kids who are juggling track with Gitchi Gummi soccer,” Leopold said. “They can really fly. We have a good thing going right now. Track feeds off all the other sports. They can work together.”

Wyatt Tischler is a sophomore who is a long and triple jump specialist. Isaac Dimitrovich is a 110 and 300 hurdler who has found some success in the disc.
Superior’s Savannah Leopold races in the 100 meter dash during the triangular at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Tuesday May 4, 2021. (Jed Carlson /


Among girls, Adrienne Krueger is a senior hurdler/pole vaulter. She is very powerful and is a great leader. She was Lake Superior Conference champion in the 100 hurdles as a freshman. Peyton Rusk is a senior pole vaulter and high jumper. She is very athletic and versatile.

Keely Morehouse and Brooklyn Burger switched from softball to track and compete in the high jump and sprints and give the team depth.

Sophomore Savannah Leopold, a standout basketball player, is specializing in the hurdles and long jump and can run the distance events. She is joined by classmates Kaylee Eisel, Mckenzie Branley, Lilly Gamache, Cassie Aiken.

“I have known most of them since they were in kindergarten, and they can all get it done,” Leopold said. “The Minnesota schools had a head start on us. We were behind the 8-ball right away, but we’re making a go of it. We still have three or four weeks left and are excited. We’ve got good kids.”

First-timer Lisson continues to lead Solon Springs/Northwood

Calin Lisson, a senior in his first year in track for Solon Springs/Northwood, continues to win in the 200 and 400 and is ranked in the top of the state for Division 3 schools in the 400.

Lisson has a PR of 52.70 in the 400 and 23.64 in the 200.

The boys relay team of Lisson, senior Logan Henning and juniors Bryon Hobshield and Ben Dickenson ranked 13th in the 800 relay with a time of 1.39.88.

Solon Springs/Northwood competed in the Indianhead Conference Meet Tuesday, May 25, in Ironwood.


Lisson won the 200 in 24.55 while Henning third in 25.56 and Hobshield fourth in 25.56.

Lisson won the 400 in 54.72 while Henning was third in the 100 in 12.54 and Hobscheid was eighth in 13.21. Dickenson was sixth in the 800 in 2:26 and fourth in the 3,200 in 12:55.24.

Among girls, Zoe Smith was fourth in the 100 in 15.36 and second in the 3,200 in 13:54, Allie Nordskog was seventh in the 200 in 32.25, Isabel Molina was fifth in the 400 in 1:16 and Nona Thompson was third in the 1,600 in 6:20. The 1,600 relay consisting of Molina, Thompson, Allie Nordskog and Burger finished second in 5:21.
Superior’s Isaac Domitrvich wins the 110 meter hurdles during the meet at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Tuesday May 4, 2021. (Jed Carlson /

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 or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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