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.
At Pine Valley Park
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.
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.