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Up North: CEC Boys Ski Team Set for the State Stage

Created: February 12, 2020 10:38 PM

The Pine Valley Ski Area in Cloquet originated from a rich history. This winter, the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton ski team is adding to that history. The Lumberjacks are reaping the rewards of their hard work and the miles they've put in by qualifying as Nordic ski team for the state tournament.

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"We just worked hard from day one and I've just kept working hard throughout the season. Had good races," said CEC sophomore Cale Prosen.

"It's really been a multiple year effort. We've been working hard every day. It's really our own decision of how much effort we want to put in," added CEC junior Joshua Sanders.

However, the Section 7 meet may have had a few bumps along the way.

"We're so glad to be here like during my race my skis kind of broke," explained CEC junior Henry Slater. "Then, I came in and like they told me you're going to state. It's like the best feeling ever even though I was really disappointed with my race."

The Lumberjacks are headed to the state meet as a team for the first time in 30 years.

"It's just a crazy good feeling knowing that there's been so many teams and they've all been really good, but we're the best one in 30 years from Cloquet," said CEC senior Spencer Hoeffling.

Their school even placed a banner outside to recognize the team for their big achievement.

"I've been involved in athletics for pretty much my whole career and to see a team thrive especially in this situation where they're not going against just single A or AA or AAA or AAA, they're going against everybody. To be a state competitor is kind of an impressive statement," said CEC head coach Arne Maijala.

Only the top two teams from each section made up of seven skiers qualify for state. The CEC boys ski team is made up of four juniors, one freshman, one sophomore, and one senior, but they say it takes a family to build this kind of success.

"The coaches just do so much to support it, like Ben Croft our volunteer coach, puts so much time that he didn't have to and it just it's amazing," said AJ Maijala.

With the frigid cold temps predicted for Thursday, the Lumberjacks will have to wait one more day as the state meet has been pushed back to Friday, but the delay won't hold back their excitement for this new experience and new addition to the Lumberjacks history books.

"Just to go and see what the state meet is all about," CEC freshman Miles Fischer said is what he is looking forward to. "I'm in my second year skiing, so I'm not used to like any of this really, so it's just kind of getting used to it.

"Just being able to put it all out there, race our hardest and race our best. That's why I want this to be like our best race of the season as a whole team. Every single one of us counts," said CEC junior Benjamin Bauer.

The team will race Friday at Giants Ridge near Biwabik.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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