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Nordic skiing: Agates bump up to varsity

Two Harbors sophomore Cedar Gordon heads to the finish of the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Invitational on Tuesday, Jan. 8. Gordon was the top Agate finisher in 29th place overall. (Jamey Malcomb/News-Chronicle)1 / 2
Two Harbors sophomore Autumn Smith competes at the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Invitational Tuesday, Jan. 8, at Pine Valley Park in Cloquet. (Jamey Malcomb/News-Chronicle)2 / 2

Two Harbors-Cook County Nordic skiers took to the trails Tuesday, Jan. 8, for the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Invitational at Pine Valley Park in Cloquet.

In a bit of a surprise, four Agate skiers competed in the girls varsity race, with sophomore Cedar Gordon finishing in 20 minutes, 30.6 seconds, good enough for 29th place overall.

The young THCC team was originally planned to compete only at the junior varsity level this season, coach Kevin Hudson told the News-Chronicle in November. However, the four Agates competing at Tuesday's race — Gordon, Autumn Smith, Brooklyn Smith and Aspen Huddleston — have shown enough improvement through the first half of the season to be bumped up to varsity.

While the four skiers may not compete for a Section 7A title in 2019, the team's improvement bodes well for next season. Brooklyn Smith is the only senior and the other three skiers are sophomores, giving them two more chances at a section title or qualifying for the state meet.

The last Agate skier to qualify for the state meet at Giants Ridge in Biwabik was Mikael Overby in 2017. The last girl to qualify for the state meet was Kiersten Haaversen, who qualfied in consecutive years in 2011 and 2012.

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Invitational

At Pine Valley Park

Girls

Teams

1. Duluth East, 387; 2. Grand Rapids, 378; 3. Mesabi East, 334; 4. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, 327; 5. Duluth Denfeld, 299; 6. Two Harbors-Cook County, 267; 7. Hibbing, 264; 8. Proctor-Hermantown, 246.

Individuals

Classic

1. Gretchen Haggenmiller, DE, 16:04.6; 2. Annika Viren, GR, 16:15.1; 3. Elsa Viren, 16:34.1; 4. Clara Kramer, DE, 16:42.7; 5. Maj-Lis Helmer, DE, 17:09.3; 29. Cedar Gordon, THCC, 20:30.6; 35. Autumn Smith, THCC, 21:43.3; 40. Brooklyn Smith, THCC, 22:49; 44. Aspen Huddleston, THCC, 26:00.4.

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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