There’s not a lot of snow on the ground yet, but the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton alpine ski team is ready to kick off the 2018-19 season.
Coach Ryan Zimny said the team is growing despite a high turnover from last season’s team. The Lumberjacks graduated a number of skiers from last year, but the team has added enough athletes that its roster has grown since 2017-18.
Senior Thomas Heren should contend for the section title at the Section 7A meet Feb. 5 at Giant’s Ridge, according to Zimny, and could place high at the state meet Feb. 13. Zimny said he expects strong results from Colter Hendrickson as well.
The girls team has several new skiers coming out for the first time, but Zimny said several already have racing experience. He expects sophomore Abby Blazevic to be one of CEC’s top finishers at the beginning of the season.
The Lumberjacks haven’t been able to practice much so far, with Spirit Mountain limited to weekend skiing, but the resort opened up for regular daily hours Wednesday, Dec. 12, and Zimny was looking forward to some gate training time in advance of the team’s first meet.
As opposed to team success, Zimny said his hope for the season was to see individual improvement in all of his skiers.
“My main goal for the season is to have each athlete improve so that they are faster at the end of the season in comparison to the beginning,” Zimny said. “Overall team results aren’t my focus as much as seeing each individual skier achieve their own personal goals first.
CEC’s season kicks off at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14, in Lutsen.