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Lumberjacks girls make historic trip to State

For the first time in a while, the weather at the Minnesota State High School Alpine Skiing State meet was fabulous. That made Tuesday even better for the Lumberjacks girls alpine ski team, the first Cloquet-Esko-Carlton team to make it to State in 30 years.

"For such a poor weather season, the weather yesterday was one of the best at the state meet we've seen in many years," CEC head coach Ryan Zimny said. "There was good visibility, snow surface, and temperature. The girls had fun and had a great experience."

Teagen Tessier was the Lumberjacks top skier at State, taking 34th place, in 1 minute, 29.31 seconds for both runs. Her sister Nadia Tessier came in just over 4 seconds behind, in 1:33.37, good enough for 53rd. Lauren Radovich placed 74th, Madysen Waters took 80th and senior Emily Rengas was disqualified.

"Emily was going for it in her second run, but straddled a gate and ended up skiing out," Zimny said. "The course sets are always challenging at State, and with nothing to hold back, it's pretty common to have kids crash or blow out, which we had a few of."

As a team, the Cloquet girls took eighth place at State. Although three of the Lumberjacks girls skiers placed in the top 10 during the Section 7 meet on Feb. 6, they met much stiffer competition at State, with mostly metro area skiers filling the top slots.

"The advantage for many of the metro schools is that since we are all one class, schools with 2,000 students tend to have a lot more depth than the smaller northern programs," Zimny said.

Regas and Waters will graduate this year, which means Zimny needs to recruit a few more skiers. He's also hoping previous team member Annika Elsmore will return from studying abroad next year.

All the boys will be returning next year.

"With their continued progression, along with a few returning from injuries this year, they should be better next year," Zimny said.

Any kids interested in alpine skiing should reach out to Zimny, a Cloquet High School physics teacher.