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Nordic skiing: CEC boys snag first win of season

CEC sophomore Josh Sanders comes to the finish line during at Pine Valley Park in Cloquet. Sanders finished fifth and was one of three Lumberjacks in the top five, securing their first team win since the Lake Superior Confernece meet in 2018. (Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal)1 / 3
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton senior Aidan Ripp won the CEC Invitational race with a blistering time of 13 minutes, 22.6 seconds. It was Ripp's first time racing at Pine Valley Park in Cloquet in nearly two years. (Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal)2 / 3
CEC skier Andrea Hille heads toward the finish line during the CEC Invitational at Pine Valley Park in Cloquet. Hille finished 20th overall and the CEC girsl finished fourth as a team. (Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal)3 / 3

The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys Nordic ski team took advantage of fast conditions to grab their first win in nearly a year at the CEC Invitational on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at the Pine Valley Park in Cloquet.

Aidan Ripp took first place overall with a blazing-fast time of 13 minutes, 22.6 seconds, and for a few minutes, there were whispers of a new course record for the Lumberjack senior.

Coach Arne Maijala was unable to confirm if the time was a record at Pine Valley, but he said it was an impressive time, nonetheless.

"It's a very fast time for that course," Maijala said.

Last year's meet at Pine Valley was canceled because of bad weather conditions.

Ripp said he may have started too fast because he was so happy to be racing again on his home course.

"I think that I had a little bit of excitement to race at Pine Valley again because I haven't raced here in two years," Ripp said. "I was really excited, so I think I went out a little to hard in the beginning and then settled down and had more of a normal race for me."

Ripp was one of three CEC skiers to finish in the top five and all four scorers for the Lumberjacks finished in the top 10. Benjamin Bauer finished third, Josh Sanders was fifth and Blaine Bong was ninth.

Maijala said the snow early morning Monday, Jan. 7, combined with much cooler temperatures the following day, made for fast, slightly icy conditions on the course.

The CEC girls finished fourth with Brita Mowers leading the Lumberjacks in 17th place with a time of 19:04.4. Charlotte Ripp, Andrea Hille and Elsa Mowers finished 19th, 20th and 21st, respectively.

The team next turns its attention to the Lake Superior Conference meet Jan. 25 at Snowflake Nordic Ski Center in Duluth.

Maijala said CEC is transitioning from its early-season focus on conditioning to "fine tuning" their technique and preparing for the two stage pursuit races required at the conference meet, as well as the Section 7A meet Feb. 7 at Giants Ridge.

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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