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Tennis team scores 6-1 victory over Superior

The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls tennis team has already hit the court four times prior to the start of classes and has a big matchup against Duluth East on Thursday, Aug. 22.

The 'Jacks beat both the heat and the Superior Spartans Tuesday, winning by a 6-1 score at Cloquet to improve to 2-2 on the young season.

"We were lucky to start the match later in the afternoon," Coach Steve Rickstrom said. "There was some shade on the courts but it was plenty hot."

The 'Jacks swept the singles matches with captain Breanne Baker, Lora Chalich, Rosalie Lundquist and Hailey Martin all winning. The second doubles team of Katelyn Litke and Arica Sheff won its match as did the third doubles team of Annika Hammitt and Lexi Robideaux.

"Superior is still down and we were able to get other players onto the court," Rickstrom said. "We do have a lot of returning starters and what we are hoping for is ... to have enough depth to win matches 4-3 against the better teams."

Sheff, Baker, Brittney Woodward, Litke, Katrina Smith, Chalich and Rachel Willgohs are the team's seniors.

"In terms of ability, it's about the same as last year," Rickstrom said. "We will compete. In the conference we'll be competitive, but if you're looking at playoffs, it's going to be tough."

The team is led by Baker as the sole captain.

"She's a senior and tough player who has been a standout for three years for us now," Rickstrom said. "We could have named other captains but we thought she deserved to be the sole torch carrier as captain."

Playing in the Mora Invitational last weekend, the 'Jacks went 1-2. A 6-1 loss to Chisago Lakes saw the second doubles team of Litke and Sheff win its match 10-5.

That was followed by a 4-3 win over the host team where CEC won all the singles matches and lost all the doubles matches. Baker, Chalich, Lundquist and Courtney Ketola won the singles matches.

The day finished with a 6-1 loss to Aitkin, with Ketola winning at third singles.

The 'Jacks get their ultimate test on Thursday against Duluth East in what was scheduled to be a three-way meet involving Duluth Denfeld. But the Hunters don't have enough players to field a team at the moment, so the match will be between the 'Jacks and Greyhounds.

"I don't know if East will play their entire varsity against us," Rickstrom said. "We'll find out if our talent level is high enough at this level."

Numbers aren't a problem for Rickstrom. Thirty-three players came out for the team this fall and Rickstrom had to make cuts for the first time ever. Twenty-seven players are on the season's roster with 14 expected to be varsity candidates including the seniors.

"When we graduate those kids, we'll have to develop some more players," Rickstrom said. "Honestly, the numbers are huge. We have too many kids. But the players in