College sports: Nephew headlines list of Duluth East recruits

Greyhounds will host signing ceremony Wednesday in the East Atrium.

Cora Nephew graphic (1).jpg
Duluth East senior Cora Nephew will run cross country and track at West Point.
Submitted graphic
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DULUTH — Seven Duluth East seniors will have a signing day ceremony in the East Atrium at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Among the signings is NCAA Division I recruit Cora Nephew, who will run cross country and track at Army West Point.

Nephew is a state qualifier in cross country, Alpine skiing and track. At last year’s Section 7AA track and field championships in Cloquet, she finished second in the 3,200 meters in 11 minutes, 28.42 seconds, the fastest time for a Duluth East girl in the 3,200 since Kendall Wheeler in 2000. Nephew is a track captain and National Honor Society member.

Nephew will be joined Wednesday by classmates Ian Morse (St. Michael’s College, Nordic skiing), Anders Wakefield (Concordia-Moorhead, track), Sophia Revoir (Concordia-Moorhead, track), Elly Rectenwald (Whitman College, swimming), Bianca Lott (Carleton College, track) and Cassie Bergman (Wisconsin-Stout, softball).

  • Senior Jackson DesCombaz will not take part in the signing ceremony but plans to walk on at Montana State and run track.

DesCombaz finished third in the 1,600 at sections last year and has really come on in the 800 this spring. At Friday’s Matt Kero Invitational at Duluth Denfeld, he won the 800 in 1:59.37 to edge Moose Lake/Willow River’s Joseph Mikrot (2:01.24) and Cromwell-Wright’s Noah Foster (2:01.43). DesCombaz’s time broke the meet record and was the fourth fastest 800 in East history. He is a team captain and also played soccer for the Greyhounds.

Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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