Lumberjacks swim season ends on positive note at section meetIt’s been a long season for Stacia Grayson and her winless Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls varsity swim team. At sections, however, things were different. The Lumberjacks were as competitive as they’ve been all fall. Carried by their speedy relay teams and number of quick individuals, CEC placed 10th out of 11 teams at Saturday’s Section 5A Meet finals in Grand Rapids, totaling 63 points in the pool.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
It’s been a long season for Stacia Grayson and her winless Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls varsity swim team. At sections, however, things were different. The Lumberjacks were as competitive as they’ve been all fall.
Carried by their speedy relay teams and number of quick individuals, CEC placed 10th out of 11 teams at Saturday’s Section 5A Meet finals in Grand Rapids, totaling 63 points in the pool.
Although it may look like the ’Jacks finished near the bottom, Grayson thought otherwise. The second-year head coach expressed her joy for her swimming enthusiasts afterward.
“We were just a point out of ninth place,” said Grayson about being right behind Becker in the finals. “That was really cool. It was huge for us.”
Monticello won the meet handily with an incredible 555 total points.
Throughout the year, Grayson’s youthful CEC group has battled inexperience, thin numbers and has had to forfeit events from time to time. Despite the road bumps, Grayson said last Thursday’s preliminaries and Saturday’s finals were enjoyable for her girls.
“Overall, I think everyone swam some of their best times at this meet, either on Thursday or Saturday,” Grayson said. “We did really well.”
Guiding the ’Jacks in the lanes was their always-tough 200-yard freestyle relay team. The event has been CEC’s best all fall.
The quartet featuring senior speedster Aimee Goldschmidt, junior Kayla Whipple and sophomores Alison Denman and Kristina Erickson sped through the prelims and claimed seventh in the finals, finishing in 1 minute, 50.93 seconds.
Their 400-yard freestyle squad was also stellar, according to Grayson.
“We dropped three seconds,” she said, describing how her team of Whipple, Denman, Erickson and junior Whitney Wysocki finished at 4:05.98 en route to taking ninth place, shaving ample time off their prelims time.
A trio of individuals participated for the ’Jacks as well, with Denman, Wysocki and senior Brittney Kemi faring well in the pool. With Denman in the medley, Wysocki the butterfly and Kemi the breaststroke, CEC had a laundry list of competitors Saturday in the finals.
“Our seniors finished off the season well, too,” said Grayson of captains Goldschmidt and Kemi, “and that was nice to see.”
And according to Grayson, the future for CEC looks bright.
“There are a lot of young swimmers,” she said, “but the team’s looking great. We’re hoping to get a swim camp going this summer.”
Grayson anticipates the camp will draw more numbers for the program.
“Hopefully we’ll get some new swimmers going,” she said, “and get some older ones to work on their skills.”
Yet right now, she’s just happy with how her ’Jacks finished.
“It was a lot of fun,” said a proud Grayson. “We ended on a positive note.”