In doubles play, Johnson has the luxury of a deep and talented group. It doesn't hurt having 12 players who can be mixed and matched for 10 varsity positions, including singles and doubles players. "As far as doubles go, I have mixed and matched a lot of players," Johnson said. "Figuring out the chemistry is a big part of it as to who works well together. Matching strengths and weaknesses so things even out on the court. It's nice that I have 12 guys that I can work with."
Barnum has a young squad this year and at times, that youth shows up on the field and in their at bats. "We haven't really hit the ball well in the first three games," Bender said. "We are very young and are playing freshmen and sophomores in important roles. We have only two seniors, but I believe as we move into more game action that things will come together at the plate and defensively with our focus for seven innings." <
In Monday's win over South Ridge, the game was close through five innings, with Barnum leading just 3-2 before the bats erupted to score nine runs during the remainder of the game and Kylee Bergquist leading the way with a grand slam.
The tough conditions were not the only obstacle the Lindquists had to overcome, as just getting to Boston proved to be equally difficult. "It was quite an adventure to get to Boston because we were stuck in the Minneapolis airport for 30 hours due to the blizzard the Twin Cities had," Bryan said. "We ended up sleeping at the airport and finally made it to Boston on Sunday at about 5 p.m. and picked up our race packets at the last second and got some dinner." The difficult trek to Boston included four canceled flights, nine different boarding passes and a total of 34 hours in the airport. "We were intending on leaving the airport at 6 a.m.," Jackson said. "Just getting to Boston was a crazy experience."
For the first time in school history, a Cromwell-Wright archer has qualified for the National Archery in the Schools tournament.
Every year brings something a bit different, but this season is rivaling 2013 for a late start to getting on the fields and courts to play games. For the most part, every local baseball and softball team is facing at least a one- to two-week season delay.
Entering the Monday, Feb. 26, road game with Duluth Marshall, Nick Mattson of Wrenshall needed 49 points to pick up his 1,000th career point. In an incredible display of 3-point shooting, Mattson not only picked up what he needed, but he obliterated the local record books when he lit up the scoreboard for 17 3-point shots and 62 points as the Wrens ran away with a 116-83 win over the Hilltoppers. "We talked about how many points he needed before we left for the game," Wrens coach Jon Bartzak said.
A great 3-point shooter is usually lucky if they can shoot 35 percent from that distance, but Esko's Ryan Pantsar has been lights out shooting 50 percent on the season, which is unheard. Against Two Harbors last week, Pantsar went 9-for-14 from the 3-point line and scored 37 points in just 20 minutes of playing time. The Eskomos play tonight, Friday, March 2, at 7:15 p.m. vs. Virginia.
Great snow conditions greeted skiers at the Minnesota State High School Nordic ski meet Thursday, Feb. 15, at Giants Ridge. Two Cloquet-Esko-Carlton skiers, Aidan Ripp and Tyler Northey, participated, with Ripp finishing in 15th place and being named All-State in the process.
"Our girls team is rebuilding this year after losing Erika Fox and Anya Maijala to graduation last year," explained Sorenson. "Both were perennial state powers. Franny Slater has taken over as our leader both on and off the snow. She skied the pursuit race of her life in the section meet and just missed qualifying for state. She would have qualified in the other seven sections in Minnesota." Sorenson is wrapping up his final season as head coach for CEC, but he sees a bright future for the Lumberjacks.