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CEC tennis team out, individuals advance

After finishing the regular season with a 10-15 record, the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls tennis team added an opening-round playoff win last week before being bounced from the Section 7 playoffs by Elk River.

“I am very happy with how this team performed this season,” said CEC coach Derek Johnson. “We lost 90 percent of our team from a year ago, but all these girls stepped up and every single one of them contributed to a successful season.”

In the opening round of playoffs, CEC knocked off Duluth Denfeld 6-1. The ’Jacks went 4-0 in singles, getting wins from No. 1 singles player Alexis Goranson, No. 2 Araya Kiminski, No. 3 Emilie Mattinen, and No. 4 Addison Ranta.

In doubles, the ’Jacks got a win at No. 2 doubles from Ella Chartier and Paige Goranson and No. 3 doubles by Emma Welch and Gabby Renquist.

Following the win over Denfeld, the ’Jacks faced No. 1 seed Elk River in the second round, where they bowed out in a 7-0 loss.

“The girls know we are in a tough section,” Johnson said. “Elk River is the top dog and the No. 1 seed so we knew it would be tough, but everyone played hard and gave everything they had.”

The loss meant CEC was eliminated from the team portion of the section tournament, but there is still an opportunity for individual players to advance to State in the Section 7 individual tournament, which began on Tuesday.

Alexis Goranson and Araya Kiminski are competing in the singles bracket, and doubles partners Jordyn Rahkola and Frankie Halverson, and Emma Welch and Gabby Renquist were also competing.

Section 7 is an odd section, with 18 teams participating, and many of those teams from the northern suburbs.

“In the end, that’s a challenge we look forward to,” Johnson said.

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