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CEC girls dominate conference in Nordic skiing

The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls won another Lake Superior Conference title last Friday. The meet was embedded in the Duluth East Invitational at Snowflake Ski Center. The CEC girls took four of the top five spots in the conference, with freshman Erika Fox winning her second straight conference championship, edging teammate and fellow freshman Anja Maijala by a scant 2.5 seconds across two races — a 5-kilometer freestyle race and a 5K classic pursuit race.

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That duo was followed by freshman Sylvie Deters in fourth and junior Kaylee Parks in fifth.

The boys team finished third, trailing a dominant Proctor-Hermantown team and runner-up Denfeld.

“The girls team, they’re a bunch of great kids,” Coach Glen Sorenson said. “They work hard and they listen to us as coaches. They’re talented and they’re young.”

Fox’s second conference title came despite a pair of falls. She fell early in the freestyle, when she said she got a ski caught in some snow, and late in the classic, spilling on a sharp corner near the finish line.

“I wasn’t happy with it, but I got it together,” said Fox, who addressed her frustration with an unofficial solo cooling-off ski after her races. “I’m super proud of us for winning our conference meet. The whole team did awesome.”

Sorenson was quick to point out senior Hannah Erickson, who finished 11th, behind teammate Emma Waugh in 10th.

“She’s a good leader,” said Sorenson, who then pointed to key factors in the team’s success. “We have a good program going at Cloquet. Pine Valley is a super place to train and we’ve got great parents who ski.”

It’s key, he said, to have supportive and active parents. At the upcoming section meet at Giants Ridge in two weeks, powerhouses Ely and Duluth East will present a hurdle for any would-be challengers.

“When you have parents who are into skiing it enriches your program,” he said. “In Ely, that’s all they do in the winter, and right now we’re starting to have a group of parents who ski and help out, too.”

The boys team was led by first-year skier Robbie Sobczak, a sophomore who finished 8th in the conference. Sam Olson of Proctor-Hermantown won the meet in 29:44.5. Sobczak’s 32:10.1 edged teammates Nolan Ripp (9th), Nick Tomhave (10th) and Josh Carlson (12th).

Back to Fox. She finished out of the state qualifying by one place last season. She’s determined to make up that difference in a couple weeks. Sorenson likes her chances. He noted she’s leading the Arrowhead Cup standings, an award measuring season-long consistency.

“Erika understands the benefits of hard work,” he said. “She has the heart of a competitor.”     

Lake Superior Conference

Girls team results


Proctor-Hermantown       380

Duluth Denfeld353

Marshalldid not score

CEC (place-person-time) — 1. Erika Fox 33:39.1, 2. Anja Maijala 33:42.6, 4. Sylvie Deters 37:14.4, 5. Kaylee Parks 38:06.9, 10. Emma Waugh 38:53.8, 11. Hannah Erickson 39:09.7, 13. Courtney Gregory 40:17.8, 18. Erika Blesener 44:27.7

Boys team results

Proctor-Hermantown       393

Duluth Denfeld369

Cloquet-Esko-Marshall     365


CEC (place-person-time) — 8. Robbie Sobczak 32:10.1, 9. Nolan Ripp 32:10.4, 10. Nick Tomhave 32:15.6, 12. Josh Carlson 32:32.5, 16. Parker Sinkkonen 33:31.7, 17. Lucas Tomhave 33:37.2, 19. Gabe Graves 34:10.6, 20. Eric Mysemborg 34:26.6, 22. Jace Anderson 34:54.1, 23. Jack Waugh 34:56.1, 24. Tyler Mattson 34:59.8, 25. Joey Gotchnik 35:28.2