The 'Jacks were led by senior heavyweight Devin Reynolds who shocked the state by finishing second and Conner Denman, who finished fourth in the 152-pound weight class. Daniel Stevens also represented CEC at the state meet for the first time in the 170-pound weight class and lost his only match of the tournament.
The Thunder completed their season on Saturday with a tough loss at the hands of Rainy River Community College by the score of 107-90. The loss eliminated the Thunder from the state Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC) tournament.
"Making it through a true-second match is usually very hard to accomplish because you are a lower-seeded wrestler in the bracket and you have to take third and then hope the guy that beat you — in this case Firsby — wins so you can then challenge the guy that he had beaten for true-second place," explained Coach Denman. "Firsby's victory opened the door for Daniel to challenge Lange. Daniel and the Pine City wrestler had split matches in the two previous meets and then Daniel punched his ticket to the state tournament with a smartly wrestled 5-1 victory." The honor of wrestling in the state tournament to represent CEC is not lost on Coach Denman, who was ecstatic over the accomplishments of all three of his state tournament entrants
“The first half was really back and forth and it was a good battle with both teams playing about the same offensively,” said Cloquet coach Heather Young. “However, second half came, and we struggled to finish at the rim and free-throw line while they finished.
The Lumberjacks got points from McGinn (35th), Hailey Owens (37th), Neumann (38th) and Josie Pickar (39t)h.
“Our team shared the ball on offense and we rebounded well,” Otis said. “Our defense was trapping and maybe that surprised them, but we moved the ball on offense and George (LaPrairie) was a beast in the middle of the lane and he was hard to stop.”
“We train at Spirit Mountain, but none of the area hills were opened up until several weeks into the official season, so we were in a waiting game for a while, but we are out now to catch up,” Zimney said. “This week we have a race scheduled at Giants Ridge, and it is going to be cold with sub-zero high temperatures expected.”
“I think it was a good weekend for us as a whole,” said Madsen. “Our group learned they can be an elite team in this league on Friday night, and on Saturday they learned that to be an elite team they have to show up every night. It is all part of the process and growing into a championship caliber team. I’m proud of the first half of our season.”
“The course on Tuesday was a monster,” explained Sorenson. “It is a brutal course and a tough one for a lot of skiers.”
“This game was very important for our team,” explained Wright. “We have a young team and it was great for our girls to see that they are capable of competing with a good team for 36 minutes if we play well and execute. The next step will be learning how to win these games.”