Beyond the Playbook: Hibbing mother, daughter duo return cross country team to state

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As the temperature drops around the Northland, the pressure rises for highschool cross country teams who are days away from competing in the State tournament.

One of those teams gearing up are the HIbbing Bluejackets, a team who is making the trip for the first time since 1995.

Head coach James Plese had this to say about the team leading into the season, "the potential was there, I had to bring them to my classroom about a week out because I think sometimes the kids heard you as a coach, but they think its a motivational ploy or tactic. Si i basically said, this is it your here right on the cusp show up."

Another reason for that different feeling coming into this year could also be his supporting staff. Which boast a memeber of that 1995 state appearence, Assistant coach Serena Sullivan.

"She is a storied alumni from Hibbing and she has got a ton of state experience. Basically seventh through tenth grade of going there every year, making those trips, so her knowledge base is something I’m very fortunate to have," stated Plese.

"Just having been there even with past athletes and stuff, its an experience that these girls are never going to comprehend outside of going to the state meet. When you get there it can be a little overwhelming, so just preparing them for something like that is kind of fun," said Serena.

Well fortune has been shining on Hibbing this year beacause not only do they have an allstar assistant coach. They also have coach Sullivans daughter Mileena Sladek, who in her mothers footsteps, led the late season charge placing second at sections.

Mileena said that, "At the beggining of the season I was just tagging along seeing how this goes, definetly not going to be as good as my mom. Then towards the end of the season, I kind of kicked it off, and I was like well maybe I am my mothers daughter. So I feel like I’m definetly following in her footsteps."