CEC hosts Nordic Invite under lightsWith the parking lot full, the lights turned on and hundreds of skiers roaming the well-groomed trails of Pine Valley, a bundled up Les Martin stood and smiled.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
CLOQUET – With the parking lot full, the lights turned on and hundreds of skiers roaming the well-groomed trails of Pine Valley, a bundled up Les Martin stood and smiled.
The longtime skier and Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Nordic ski coach helped direct and organize one of the area’s largest nighttime ski races around. On a brisk Tuesday night, the Cloquet Invitational was, again, a big hit.
“It went well,” said Martin. “Hosting a night race is a lot of work, much more than a day race, but it worked well. We were pretty happy with it.”
Little room was available at the historic Cloquet track, as loads of skiers, coaches and fans sidelined the 5-kilometer course’s starting and finish lines. The bright lights only added to the effect.
“We always look forward to this one,” continued Martin. “We did pretty well, too.”
Of the nine teams participating in the chilly affair, CEC placed third on the girls side with 331 points, while the boys claimed fourth with their 292 total points. Duluth East swept the Invite, and was the top squad in attendance.
“They’re just dominant,” said Martin of the state-power Greyhounds. “They ski so well. They’re one of the state’s best and are always up there.”
In the girls race, Duluth East and Ely marked all but a handful of skiers in the top-20. Esko sophomore Molly Meysembourg was one of the few within that top class, as she paced the Lumberjacks with her impressive time of 17 minutes, 18 seconds, good for 17th place.
“Molly has been our leader all season,” said Martin. “She’s been skiing well and is getting better and better. She’s second to East and Ely and that’s pretty good.”
Cloquet junior Alyssa Michaelson followed Meysembourg in 22nd at 18 minutes flat, while Korbyn Danielson placed right behind Michaelson in 23rd at 18:35.
On the boys side, the ’Jacks were guided by Carlton sophomore Duncan Fox, whose finishing time of 15:43 was good for 28th place. Fox has been the centerpiece for boys this winter following the graduation of last year’s state champ and Cloquet Invite winner, Raleigh Goessling.
“Duncan just keeps improving throughout the season,” said Martin. “We worked him hard tonight, and he skied well for us.”
Raleigh’s younger brother, freshman Parker, was also a topic of conversation for Martin. The younger Goessling was just 12 seconds behind Fox, placing 29th at 15:55. Fellow freshman Matt Rengo took 32nd at 16:21.
“Parker really stepped up for us tonight,” said Martin. “But that’s like everyone on both teams. These kids are continuing to improve and show progress. We’re still very young, learning some new techniques and trying to compete with the East and Ely’s, but every meet, they’re looking better and better.”
Martin’s Nordic crew will next hit the trails Friday afternoon when they take part in the Proctor-Hermantown Invitational at Spirit Mountain at 1 p.m.
CEC alpine squad still hurting
The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton alpine ski team continued their woes last Thursday when they competed at the Bud Fontana Invitational at Giants Ridge.
Of the eight teams on the girls end, the Lumberjacks pulled in sixth with 168 points, while the boys scored 189 points to disappointingly claim seventh of nine squads. Brainerd was crowned the boys champs, while Hermantown won the girls title.
“It’s still kind of the same thing, we’re just struggling to put two runs together,” said CEC coach Ryan Zimny. “But part of that is because we’re young. It’s a technical sport that really takes time to learn. Things will come around. They’ll come.”
Eighth-grader Carly Boder led the CEC girls in 14th place with her two-run combined time of 1 minute, 31.6 seconds. Freshman Sam Sinnot paced the boys in 20th at 1:19.93.
Top-notch Esko freshmen Paige Tranah and Alex DeRocher had rough afternoons. For the girls, Tranah didn’t finish her second run, while DeRocher had a poor opening for the boys.
CEC will next participate at Mont du Lac in Superior at 5 p.m. Thursday, followed by a meet at Spirit Mountain at 10 a.m. Monday.