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Ripp runs 'his race' to huge win at Swain

Lauren Cawcutt of Cloquet runs in Saturday's Swain Invitational, finishing in 31st place and helping the Lumberjack girls team take a 10th place finish. Steve Kuchera/Forum News Service1 / 5
Aidan Ripp2 / 5
Wyatt Rauvola of Cromwell-Wright-Floodwood runs to a ninth-place finish in Saturday's Swain Invitational in 18:04.2. Steve Kuchera/Forum News Service3 / 5
Ethan Olson of Moose Lake-Willow River-Barnum races to a fourth-place finish at the Swain Invitational, helping the MLWRB boys team place ninth overall. Steve Kuchera/Forum News Service4 / 5
Joshua Kemp of Esko runs in the Swain Invitational Saturday, finishing seventh overall in 17:55.4 and helping the Esko boys team take a third place finish. Steve Kuchera/Forum News Service5 / 5

Breakout Box:

SWAIN INVITATIONAL

Class AA

The Cloquet boys team placed fourth overall behind St. Michael-Albertville, Robbinsdale Armstrong and Champlin Park. In addition to Ripp's first-place finish, Blaine Bong finished in 26th, Blake Desmond in 30th, Jordan Allen in 33rd and Brady Hall in 35th.

The Cloquet girls team placed 10th, paced by Lauren Cawcutt in 31st with a time of 21:49.60, followed by Kelly Lorenz (54th), Audrey Phillips (66th) and Franny Slater (71st).

Class A Boys

The Esko boys garnered third place behind North Shore and Mora, led by Joshua Kemp in seventh place, finishing in 17:55.4, and Sam Rengo in 14th.

The Moose Lake-Willow River/Barnum boys team placed ninth overall and was led by Ethan Olson's fourth-place, 17:47.1 finish.

Also finishing in the top 10 was Wyatt Rauvola of Cromwell-Wright-Floodwood with his ninth-place race time of 18:04.2.

Other top 50 finishers included Cromwell-Wright's Cameron Dickey (17th), Isaiah Arntson of Esko (32nd), Lake Doran of ML-WR-Barnum (43rd) and Lucas Bourgeault of Esko (44th).

Class A Girls

No Carlton County girls team placed in the top 10, but top individual finishers included Esko's Nelly Helberg in 25th, Coriella Scheetz and Kelli Grandquist of ML-WR-Barnum in 32nd and 42nd, respectively.

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When it was suggested to Aidan Ripp that his victory among Class AA boys at Saturday's Swain Invitational was by a comfortable margin, the Cloquet junior appeared unimpressed.

If golf is a good walk spoiled, you get the sense Ripp considers racing to be a good run spoiled. He doesn't pay much attention to clock or competition, nor does he look at results afterward.

"You do your race. I don't do his race, I don't do your race, I do my race," Ripp said. "So it doesn't matter who's running next to me."

Saturday at Enger Park Golf Course, nobody was. Ripp became the first Northlander to best the big-school boys field at the Swain since Hibbing's Ryan Brownell in 2004, crossing the soupy finish line in 17 minutes, 43.5 seconds.

Ripp grimaced his way through the closing stretch of a notoriously tough course, his ponytail bobbing, mud splotches on both legs. He was about 12 seconds faster than the St. Michael-Albertville duo of Carter Knaus (17:55.2) and Jonah Breuer (17:55.9).

Under blue skies, which had been overcast all morning and into the afternoon before clearing, Ripp grinded through the first 2.5 kilometers, eventually settling into a determined groove once he "just went for it."

Moments after winning, Ripp wrapped his mother, Carolyn, in a bear hug. This meet means a little something extra to Ripp.

"As a kid, this was the most prestigious race you could do," he said.

Thus, winning is a pretty big deal — whether you look at results or not.

St. Michael-Albertville eighth-grader Ali Weimer (20:13.9) was the top girl in Class AA. Her teammates occupied three of the next seven spots as the Knights won the team crown, just as they did on the boys side. The top local was Grand Rapids' Emma Stertz (10th, 20:51.3).

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