CEC prep lacrosse team blanks St. Paul, 12-0


May 5, 2023

Dan Saletel

Easton McGuire makes a catch in front of a St. Paul Ducks defender during Saturday's CEC lacrosse season opener in Esko. CEC came out with a 12-0 win.

The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys high school club lacrosse team opened its season at home in Esko Saturday with an impressive 12-0 win over St. Paul Two Rivers.

"It was a really good showing for our team," said CEC coach Danny Benson.

The CEC lacrosse program has been quietly, but steadily putting together strong numbers of players as they hope to eventually reach the status of an actual varsity sport.

Lacrosse is the fastest-growing sport in the country, and currently 84 high schools in Minnesota support lacrosse as a varsity sport. In northern Minnesota, Duluth East, Duluth Marshall, Hermantown and Grand Rapids all offer lacrosse as a varsity sport, while many schools the size of CEC are building programs with big numbers and are hoping they can join the varsity ranks in the future.

"We are really working hard at trying to teach the players the game the right way," Benson said. "Many of these players have not grown up playing for someone who actually played lacrosse, and so we are teaching them, in many cases, the barebones techniques of the game."

Benson grew up in the Twin Cities and played lacrosse his entire life, including high school lacrosse at Mounds View High School.

Lacrosse is a spring sport in Minnesota, with the state tournament this year to be held June 13-17.

In Saturday's home opener, CEC pounced on St. Paul early and often, and were led by two players, Michael Cadotte and Saige Moran, who each scored three goals.

Dan Saletel

Sam Cheslak (#16) gets his stick up to control the ball as the CEC Lacrosse season gets underway Saturday morning against the St. Paul Ducks in Esko.

"Michael had an unreal performance and won all his one-on-one battles and held his composure," said Benson. "Saige was outstanding at the face-offs, and Sam Cheslak, who did not score, really stepped up in terms of confidence and in a leadership role for the team."

CEC also got a two-goal effort from Easton McGuire, while Grant Arro, Gavin Labrasseur, Spencer Szymczak and Max Williams each scored single goals in the win.

"As a group, I was really proud of all the guys," said Benson. "We knew we were bigger and faster and we really worked on our systems and doing things we may not be able to do as the competition gets tougher."

Not only did CEC win, but they also got a shutout with goaltender Henry Schultz notching the win by not allowing a goal, which seldom happens at any level in lacrosse.

"The end goal is to someday become a varsity sport," Benson said. "This is just another step in the process of developing the program."


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