Nordic skiing: CEC boys dominate home meet

Lumberjacks are next scheduled to compete Saturday, Dec. 28, at Giants Ridge.

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton's Benjamin cruises to a first place finish at the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Invitational Thursday, Dec. 19, at Pine Valley Park. Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton junior Benjamin Bauer finished first and the Lumberjacks placed five skiers in the top 10 to win their home invitational meet Thursday, Dec. 19, at Pine Valley Park.

Bauer’s time of 17 minutes, 11.1 seconds was nearly 14 seconds ahead of Ely’s Raif Olson, who placed second.

Joining Bauer in the top 10 were Spencer Hoeffling in fourth, A.J. Maijala in seventh, Josh Sanders in eighth and Cale Prosen in 10th.

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton's A.J. Maijala takes off during the classic invititational meet Thursday, Dec. 19, at Pine Valley Park. Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal


The dominating performance of the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Classic Invite was due to the dedication and offseason work the boys put in, according to coach Arne Maijala. Four of the five skiers spend Thanksgiving training in Ironwood, Mich.

“All those boys have put their time in — they work very hard,” he said. “Every one of them also does cross-country running in the fall and distance running in the spring as well as more throughout the summer.”

Tracy scores top 10

CEC sophomore Harmony Tracy led the girls with a ninth place finish with a time of 21:34.4, less than two minutes behind meet winner Lydia Skelton of Mesabi East.

Coach Maijala was happy with the girls’ performance as well, saying the young team is working hard and consistently improving.

“Harmony has typically done well in the classic race — that’s her stronger one,” he said. “Even with top 10 finish, I think she did fall on one of the hills and still was still able to pull off a good race.”

The Lumberjacks were missing one of their strongest skiers: freshman Charlotte Ripp, who has been sidelined with an injury early in the season.

Coach Maijala was also happy with the performance of sophomore Halle Zuck, who finished 18th with a time of 22:31.4. The finish was particularly strong for someone still learning the sport.


Cloquet-Esko-Carlton's Halle Zuck rounds the final corner of the course during a classic race Thursday, Dec. 19, at Pine Valley Park. Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal

“I don’t think classic is her strongest at this point as she is new to Nordic skiing, but pulling off an 18th finish in her first time racing in classic shows something,” Coach Maijala said. “She’s going to get a lot faster once she picks up a little more of the technique.”

CEC is scheduled to compete next at the Ely Invitational at noon Saturday, Dec. 28, at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Classic Invitational



1. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, 384; 2. Ely, 379; 3. Grand Rapids, 332; 4. Mesabi East, 329; 5. Duluth East, 325; 6. Proctor-Hermantown, 309; 7. Duluth Denfeld, 165.



1. Benjamin Bauer, CEC, 17:11.1; 2. Raif Olson, Ely, 17:25.0; 3. Gabriel Pointer, Ely, 17:34.5; 4. Spencer Hoeffling, CEC, 17:43.8; 5. Nate Nettifee, Ely, 17:47.8; 7. A.J. Maijala, CEC, 18:07.9; 8. Josh Sanders, CEC, 18:10.6; 10. Cale Prosen, CEC, 18:16.5.



1. Mesabi East, 376; 2. Ely, 368; 3. Duluth East, 363; 4. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, 336; 5. Grand Rapids, 295; 6. Proctor-Hermantown, 277; 7. Two Harbors-Cook County, 224.


1. Lydia Skelton, ME, 19:47.4; 2. Clara Kramer, DE, 20:16.9; 3. Brooke Pasmick, Ely, 20:22.5; 4. Anna Greenlee, ME, 21:01.3; 5. Maj-Lis Helmer, DE, 21:05.9; 9. Harmony Tracy, CEC, 21:31.4; 16. Hannah Zuck, CEC, 22:15.7; 18. Halle Zuck, CEC, 22:31.4; Megan Chopskie, CEC, 24:16.5; 36. Elise Carlson, CEC, 27:52.8.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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