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Sports roundup: Jan. 11

Senior Owen Cruikshank started his race out strong last week at Korkki Nordic. He finished 27th in the boys' varsity race. Photo: LaReesa Sandretsky1 / 4
Senior Kiersten Haaversen double poles at the start of last Thursday's race at Korkki Nordic. She finished ninth in the varsity race.2 / 4
Senior Alicia Nopola lobs a shot over the head of a Nighthawks player Monday at the William Kelley gym. Photo: LaReesa Sandretsky3 / 4
Junior Brandi Nopola sinks a lay-up during Monday's game against Northeast Range, her only basket of the game. Photo: LaReesa Sandretsky4 / 4

Two Harbors' quirky Korkki Nordic ski meet

The cross country ski meet at Korkki Nordic Ski Center last Thursday was a little unconventional. Instead of the usual school-colored spandex and black warm-up suits, some racers were wearing neon-striped leggings or bright yellow windbreakers. One male racer was wearing a dress shirt and tie, while a girl sported a prom dress over her spandex. It was a decidedly more light-hearted version of the usually competitive races.

The laid-back meet is the home race for the Two Harbors High School team, and the parents and coaches put many hours into the meet. Korkki Nordic is located on the Korkki Road, just off the Homestead Road in Duluth Township.

The meet is an opportunity for skiers to break out their vintage spandex suits (or other kooky costumes) for a vintage-style race. While most high school race courses are designed for multiple skiers, Korkki Nordic is not--there's a single track for skiers to glide on. The trail snakes through a thick coniferous forest, over bubbling creeks and down harrowingly steep hills--meaning few personal records are set there. Skiers have to use their manners and warn competitors if they need to pass.

"The organization of the Two Harbors Invitational at Korkki always has a few challenges. Much of our success can be attributed to (Korkki director) Mark Helmer. Mark dedicated much time and effort to getting the trail skiable and safe for our skiers," Head Coach Sarah Haavisto said.

Twenty-two Two Harbors skiers participated in Thursday's meet. Senior Kiersten Haaversen broke the top 10, finishing ninth in the 6-kilometer varsity race. Eighth-grader Jace Jordan also claimed an enviable third place in the 4-kilometer junior high boys' race.

"Jace Jordan...had a fantastic race, dropping minutes off his per-kilometer time. All the skiers raced well and were a great support system to their fellow team members," Haavisto said.

As a team, the varsity girls placed fourth out of nine teams. State-ranked powerhouse Duluth East led the pack, with Ely at second and Mesabi East claiming third place.

Full results are below.

Boys' varsity 6k (field: 48)

Team: 8th of 9 teams

27 Owen Cruikshank, 23:41

32 Drew Christensen, 24:44

41 Everett Hommes, 26:08

46 Dan O'Neil, 30:32

Girls' varsity 6k (field: 41)

Team: 4th of 9 teams

9 Kiersten Haaversen, 24:41

20 Marina Schreiner, 26:52

21 Sara Schield, 26:56

31 Savannah Juenemann, 30:24

37 Emma Burton, 35:39

39 Brighid Getten, 35:48

41 Hannah Johnson, 39:37

Boys' junior varsity 6k (field: 45)

31 Ethan Compton, 30:45

44 Dennis Pearson, 36:15

45 Brad Knight, 49:33

Girls' junior varsity 6k (field: 44)

18 Scotti Berg, 32:16

22 Abigale Seipke, 32:59

24 Kari Haaversen, 33:48

24 Ruby Walsberg, 35:51

37 Jesse Juenemann, 38:22

Boys' junior high 4k (field: 38)

3 Jace Jordan, 15:54

13 Mikael Overby, 18:17

Girls' junior high 4k (field: 42)

36 Krysi Lynville, 25:31

Two Harbors girls notch another win, two losses

The Lady Agates have are in the middle of a streak of four games in eight days. They've played three of the matches already--they defeated Wrenshall last Thursday, and then fell to Virginia on Saturday and Mesabi East on Tuesday. They play Moose Lake/Willow River on Thursday before they get a break. They're now sitting at a 4-9 record.

The Wrenshall game was an easy win for the girls with a 72-13 final score at home. Junior Krista Keranen led the scoring with 24 points.

Virginia was a hard loss. The girls started ended the first half just six points behind the Blue Devils, but couldn't make up the difference in the second half, scoring only 19 points to Virginia's 28. The girls lost the match 41-56.

During Tuesday's game, the girls lost their momentum after the first half and the Mesabi East Giants came out of the locker room strong. Though the match was tied at half-time, the girls just couldn't maintain the momentum and their 20 second-half points were easily outdone by the Giants' 34. The final score was 47-61. Junior Lane Schraufnagel led the Agates' scoring game with 20 points.

The girls play Moose Lake/Willow River at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday at Willow River and then they get a well-deserved week off before their next game against McGregor, the number one-ranked team in the conference, at home on Jan. 17. Tip-off time is at 7:15 p.m.

Agate boys hold off the Wrens

The boys earned a tough win last Friday at Wrenshall. The Wrens were the favorite on paper, with a 3-2 record in the Polar League (the Agates are 1-4 in the conference). The Agates came away with a much-needed tally in the "win" column--they're now 3-5 overall.

It was a squeaker, with the Agates holding off the Wrens by only 5 points, finishing the game at 48-43.

"I thought the boys worked very hard and played a nice defensive game. Alex Lemke stepped up big offensively for us and Trygve Lodin does a lot of the things that are not always noticed such as playing solid defense and rebounding. I also thought Charlie Pavlisich had a nice second half for us offensively," Head Coach Tom Nelson said.

Sophomore Lemke sank 22 points, while Senior Pavlisich put 12 on the board. Pat Gustafson led the Wrens with 14 points.

The Agates play Hermantown Thursday at 7:15 p.m. and Moose Lake/Willow River at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Both games are at home.

"We have a couple of very difficult stretches coming up as this week we have Hermantown and MLWR... both of these games will be major challenges for us," Nelson said.

MLWR is ranked third in the conference and Hermantown is second in the Lake Superior Conference with a 7-1 record.

Silver Bay girls fall to Nighthawks

The Silver Bay girls just couldn't keep up in their game against Northeast Range at home on Monday. They lost the match by a score of 25-62. The Nighthawks had strong one-on-one defense, smothering a number of pass and shot attempts and applying firm pressure to the Mariners throughout the game.

Senior Alicia Nopola used her height and skill to bypass the tough defense whenever she got her hands on the ball near the net, scoring 21 of the 25 points. Her long reach, however, frequently proved a burden as a number of foul were called against her. Sophomore Aubrey Thun sank one shot for the team and Alicia's younger sister Brandi and teammate Kayla Maleski each scored 1 point from the free throw line.

Danille Lenci led the Nighthawks with 11 points.

The Mariners are now 1-7 and are ranked at the bottom of the Polar League.

Mariner boys return from extended break

In their first game in two weeks, the Mariners fell to the Moose Lake/Willow River Rebels 29-75. The Rebels are ranked third in the conference. The Mariner boys remain winless, with a record of 0-8.

The girls play the Cook County Vikings squad (4-6) on Friday at home at 4:45 p.m. The boys play the Vikings (6-2) immediately after at 6:30.

There are 10 undefeated teams in both boys and girls basketball. For the boys they are Heritage Christian, Maranatha Christian, Upsala, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa and Ashby in A, Hawley in AA, Austin and Delano in AAA and St.Francis and Brainerd in AAAA. The girls have Upsala, Parkers Prairie, Clearbrook-Gonvick and Win-E-Mac in A, Dover-Eyota, Sauk Centre, New London-Spicer and Braham in AA and Fergus Falls in AAA and Hopkins in AAAA.

Steve Gow contributed to this report. The sports roundup is written by reporter LaReesa Sandretsky. Contact her at 834-2141 or

LaReesa Sandretsky
LaReesa Sandretsky is a Two Harbors High School graduate and Duluth native who began working at the News-Chronicle in 2012 as a reporter. She took over as editor in 2014. She covers County Board, including the Lake County broadband project.
(218) 834-2141