Sports Year in Review

The best word to describe the year in sports for Carlton County is simply, "fun." Of course, it's never fun when a team gets bounced out of the playoffs or beaten in the final seconds or inning of a game - but the kids and adults involved always ...

The best word to describe the year in sports for Carlton County is simply, "fun." Of course, it's never fun when a team gets bounced out of the playoffs or beaten in the final seconds or inning of a game - but the kids and adults involved always seem to be having a good time. Here's a comprehensive list of the biggest local sports news stories during the year that was 2006.


The CEC boys and girls Nordic ski teams win the Lake Superior Conference titles.

Alex Lamb of AlBrook and Kylea Seboe of Barnum both reach 1,000 points in prep basketball.

CEC's Kendra Waller qualifies for the State Alpine Ski Meet by scoring times of 37.15 and 42.33.


CEC's Becky Cook, Chase Caywood and Raleigh Goessling each qualify for the State Nordic Ski Meet in 7AA.

In front of a sellout crowd in Grand Rapids, the CEC girls hockey team beats Grand Rapids/Greenway 3-2 in double overtime to head to the girls state hockey tournament.

Former CEC girls hockey goalie Johanna Ellison is named Hockey East Rookie of the Week for the second time.


The CEC girls hockey team takes third place in the state hockey tournament by defeating Moorhead, falling to Eden Prairie and beating Roseville 1-0 in the third place game.

Esko's Joe Sunnarborg is named the MVP of the Polar League for boys basketball.

The CEC Boys hockey team falls 5-3 to Grand Rapids in the Section 7AA final at the DECC.

The Barnum Lady Bombers qualify for the State Class A Basketball Tournament by defeating Wrenshall 53-25. They take a very impressive third-place finish by beating Meadow Creek Christian, falling to Granada/Huntley/East Chain and defeating Ada-Bourup 55-50 in the third-place game.


The Esko girls basketball team qualifies for the State Class AA Basketball Tournament by defeating Crosby-Ironton 67-55. During the game, Eskomos forward Sami Mattson scores her 1,000th point. However, the Eskomos are then beaten by Cannon Falls, the eventual Class AA state champions, in the first round of the girls basketball state tournament.

The AlBrook Falcons boys basketball team qualify for their first-ever trip to the Class A state basketball tournament by defeating a very tough Onamia team. The Falcons give one heck of a game to top-ranked Maranatha Christian Academy - but fall 91-84. The Falcons' Cory Mountain breaks a Minnesota State High School Record by dropping 51 points on Maranatha.

Barnum's Colleen McKay and Cromwell's Kylee Smith are named Polar League co-MVPs for girls basketball.

Esko's Jerry Zimny is named Minnesota Boys Class AA Boys Basketball Assistant Coach of the Year by the Minnesota Coaches Association.


Long-time AlBrook head coach Don Ranta announces he's retiring after 32 years of coach basketball. Ranta led the Falcons to their first-ever state tournament appearance only weeks earlier. He is replaced by popular assistant coach and former AlBrook basketball player Damien Paulson.

Carlton Bulldogs pitcher Peter Allen fires a no-hitter against Cotton in one of the most dominating hurling efforts of the year. Allen struck out 16 in the 3-0 win.

Cloquet's Rick Norrgard finishes the Boston Marathon with an impressive time of 3:11.



The Cloquet Ski Club hosts Olympic ski jumper Jimmy Denney at their annual awards banquet.

In the Lake Superior Conference track meet the Lumberjacks' Jes Vork wins four All-Conference titles, Montana Vichorek wins three, Becca Sorenson wins two, and the 4x800 relay team of Kialee Kutter, Biz Sorenson, Brittany Chelberg and Katie Pappas make All-Conference. On the boys side, Taylor Vichorek and Darren Powell each make All-Conference.

Cloquet's Dean Levinski coaches his last game as the high school boys baseball coach.

Esko's Michelle Maunu earns her fifth trip to state in girls golf. This is the 12th time total that Maunu has made a trip to state - she's also gone in soccer, hockey and football.

Esko's Jim Stafford and Moose Lake-Willow River's Ross Prachar qualify for the Minnesota State High School Golf Tournament.

Cloquet area skiing legend Joe Nowak is inducted in the Hilltopper Athletics Hall of Fame for his accomplishments while attending the former Duluth Cathedral High School.



Cloquet runners Becca Sorenson and Jes Vork and hurdler Montana Vichorek qualify for the state track tournament. Several other athletes from the Carlton County area qualify for the track meet as well.

Esko's Brent Smith is the top local runner during the 30th Annual Grandma's Marathon, with a time of 2:45.

Cloquet's Jerry Ojibway, who teaches and is the head golf coach at Fond du Lac Ojibwe school, sinks his second hole-in-one in two years at Black Bear Golf Course.


Cloquet's Don McKay wins the Cloquet Invitational Golf Tournament.

Ross Prachar, an 18-year-old who recently graduated from Moose Lake High School, is the youngest golfer to win the Nemadji Golf Invitational in Superior. Prachar had golfed in the Minnesota State High School Golf Tourney only months before.

The Minnesota XPlosion girls U18 softball team's dominant play leads them to the national tournament.



Cloquet's RE/MAX U12 softball team wins the state championship.

Cloquet's U14 girls competitive soccer team nets the state championship by defeating the Bangu Tsunami Soccer Academy in a shootout.


Steve McDonald of Topeka, Kan., wins the First Nations Open Golf Tournament.


The Cloquet Lumberjacks girls soccer team defeats Proctor 2-1 to qualify for the state girls soccer tournament.

Esko's Kaycee Knutson wins the 7A Girls Cross Country meet.



Three Carlton County teams head to the state football tournament: Cromwell (nine-man), Barnum (A) and Moose Lake-Willow River (AA). Barnum falls in the first round, and Moose Lake-Willow River and Cromwell bow out in the second round of the state football tournament.

CEC girls swimmers Grace Moores and Ana Vang compete in the state swimming meet. The relay team of Moores, Vang, Chelsea Murn and Linda Tierney also compete.


Cloquet's wrestling team participates for the first time on the varsity level. Hosting a home meet, the Jacks defeat both Virginia and Superior.

What To Read Next
Get Local