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Local skiers do well at State

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Alex DeRocher’s senior alpine skiing campaign ended on a high note, as he finished seventh overall at the state alpine ski meet. It marked the third time he’d skied at state, and his best finish by far.

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The Esko senior finished his two runs Feb. 12 at Giants Ridge in Biwabik in 1 minute, 11.38 seconds — a scant 4-plus seconds back of champion Louis Nguyen of Chanhassen (1:06.97).

“Alex skied smart,” said Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Coach Ryan Zimny.

Zimny called DeRocher’s first run (36.33) “a solid, conservative” effort that had him in ninth overall. His second run (35.05) sealed what was the top finish by a male northern Minnesota skier.

“He was ready to put down the hammer a bit for the second run, but reports started coming in over the radio that a lot of the top skiers were blowing out at a tricky combination near the bottom, so he backed off just a hair in order to make sure he made it,” Zimny said. “He put down a good run that bumped him up a couple spots.”

The effort was a fitting send-off to an exemplary prep alpine career.

“I was really happy to see him place well in the top 10 his senior year,” Zimny said. “It’s always good to see someone go out on a high note.”

CEC duo shows promise at Nordic state

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton freshmen Erika Fox and Anja Maijala were among the strongest young skiers at the Nordic ski racing state meet at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, Feb. 13.

Carlton’s Fox finished just outside of the top 25 all-state finishers, in 27th, followed by Cloquet’s Maijala in 39th among a total of 120 finishers. Both girls were among the top 10 freshmen-and-under finishers, a sure sign that their futures in the sport are bright.

Fox finished the pursuit race in 40 minutes, 48.4 seconds, while Maijala came in at 41:38.2. The pursuit race featured a 5.2-kilometer freestyle race followed by a 5.3K classic race. The winner of the race was Mattie Watts of Mounds View’s Irondale High School in 37:14.6.

Fox was the fifth-best skier from northern Minnesota, trailing a duo from Aurora’s Mesabi East and skiers from Ely and Duluth East.