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Nordic teams find snow, take third in first meet

The season is finally under way for the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Nordic ski teams, with last Saturday’s Ely Timberwolves Invitational providing a chance for nine area teams to strut their stuff.

Both the boys’ and girls’ teams finished third in their divisions, a solid achievement for Glen Sorenson’s teams.

“The boys especially really stepped up,” Sorenson said. “They are now competitive. The girls have been real strong for several years, but the boys have been in the middle of the pack. Their finish was a nice pleasant outcome.”

The team scores were generated by the first four finishers. On the boys’ side, CEC’s scorers were freshman Aiden Ripp (11th place, 90 points), sophomore Tyler Northey (16th place, 85 points), Isaac Boedigheimer (19th, 82 points) and Quinn Erikkila (21st place, 80 points). Ripp finished the 5.4-kilometer course in 18:36.6.

“Our two top skiers were a freshman and a sophomore and that was also great,” Sorenson said. “Isaac Boedigheimer was our third and he’s come a long way too. It seemed like he could barely stand on skis when he came here and now he’s our third scorer.”

On the girls’ side, junior Anja Maijala was second for 99 points, finishing the 5.4k classical-style race in 19:25.6. Junior Erika Fox was fifth for 96 points in 20:13.6, with junior Silvie Deters finishing 18th, senior Courtney Gregory 19th and junior Emma Waugh 20th, though only Deters and Gregory figured in the team scoring.

The boys’ team score was 337, good for third place on a tie-breaker with Grand Rapids, while host Ely won with 380. Ely won the girls’ event as well with the same score of 380 points, with the ‘Jacks finishing three points behind second-place Mesabi East with a team score of 360.

“We got what we expected from the girls, and we were pleasantly surprised with the boys,” Sorenson said. “We expected them to be better and they came through.”

“Conditions were perfect for the race,” he added. “They got just enough snow, just in time. You need more snow for a classical race and the trail was in perfect condition.”

Sorenson said the racers got the chance to get used to race conditions.

“The main thing is to shock their bodies into a race,” he said. “We wanted to get that first race into their bodies. It’s really good for the young skiers to see how the meets work and how the race works for the young kids. The veteran skiers can gauge where they are against the rest of the field.”

The team took part in a skating-style Grand Rapids HS Invite race Tuesday at Mount Itasca (in Coleraine) before taking the holidays off.

Erika Fox placed second (and 99 points) in 17:36.6 for the girls, followed by

Sylvie Deters in 15th, Franny Slater in 26th, Courtney Gregory in 43rd, Emma Waugh in 47th, and Hanna Zuck in 50th. Maijala was absent. Eighty-one racers finished the girls race.

Aidan Ripp was the top finisher for the boys again on Tuesday, taking 15th in 17:23, with Quinn Erkilla in 34th, Parker Sinkonnen in 36th, Tyler Northy in 37th, Robbie Sobczak in 40th and Isaac Boedigheimer in 42nd place. Seventy-nine racers finished the boys race.

Out of 16 teams, the CEC girls placed fifth with 320 points, while the boys took eighth place with 282 points.

The next meet is Jan. 2 at Grand Marais.