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Prep Alpine skiing: Duluth East’s ‘friendly rivalry’ with Cook County/Silver Bay is heating up

The Greyhounds’ Erik Carlson skied for the first time Monday since his surgery to repair a thumb injury.

Duluth East’s Erik Carlson (114) picks up his ski as he nears the finish line of his run
Duluth East’s Erik Carlson (114) picks up his ski as he nears the finish line of his run at Mont du Lac Resort in Superior on Monday.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — Duluth East junior Erik Carlson flew down the course Monday at Mont du Lac Resort at the Duluth Public Schools Martin Luther King Day ski meet for a fourth-place finish, but the fact that he was on the course at all was surprising.

Just before Christmas, Carlson was skiing in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, when he fell and tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb.

“It wasn’t even too big of a crash — it wasn’t a fun crash to watch, I just kind of fell on it,” he said.

Carlson was able to ski without exacerbating the injury until Thursday, when he had surgery to repair the injury.

Just four days later, he was back on the slopes and helping lift the Greyhounds to a second-place finish behind Cook County/Silver Bay.

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Carlson said the biggest problem was he kept dropping his pole during the runs Monday and was forced to block all the gates with his right hand.

Duluth East put two skiers in the top five, but CC/SB had four in the top six and took the team title Monday.

Greyhounds senior Sam Hendricks finished third with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, .88 seconds, just ahead of Carlson, but behind CC/SB’s Ray Dressley and Cy Oberholtzer.

Over the past few years, the Greyhounds and CC/SB have developed a “friendly rivalry,” according to Hendricks — a rivalry that could be decided by fractions of a second.

“My first run was pretty solid,” Hendricks said. “My second run, I had a little hiccup halfway down coming over the knoll. That added some time and pushed me down a little bit, but it didn’t push me out of third place, so I was happy with the results.”

Duluth East topped CC/SB to take the Section 7A title in 2022, but after the departure of Carter Hegg and Wyatt Schultz following graduation, the Greyhounds are looking for some more depth to help them compete with a team that lost just one skier from last season.

“Cook County is going to be hard to beat this year — they have an amazing team with a lot of depth,” Greyhounds coach Andrea Hendricks said.

CC/SB’s Graham Oberholtzer and Goshi Dimitrov both finished fifth and sixth, but the Greyhounds have a couple of newer skiers that are improving very quickly and could give them the depth they need by the time the Section 7A meet rolls around on Feb. 7.

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The Greyhounds' Nathan Momont’s first run time of 30.35 seconds was the third best recorded Monday, but a fall on his second run cost the team.

Duluth East’s William Quincy Smith (128) gets around a gate during his run
Duluth East’s William Quincy Smith (128) gets around a gate during his run at Mont du Lac Resort in Superior on Monday.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Sophomore William Quincy Smith finished 15th overall, but coach Hendricks said he just started skiing competitively this season.

“He’s an exceptional skier, but he’s never raced before,” coach Hendricks said. “He played hockey, but he has taken to it. It’s really quite amazing that he is in 15th place after just our third race.”

The Greyhounds will take to the slopes again at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Mont du Lac.

Duluth Marshall’s Cormac Johnson (126) knocks down a gate during his run
Duluth Marshall’s Cormac Johnson (126) knocks down a gate during his run at Mont du Lac Resort in Superior on Monday.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Hibbing’s Logan Maxwell (137) bends a gate during his run
Hibbing’s Logan Maxwell (137) bends a gate during his run at Mont du Lac Resort in Superior on Monday.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Rock Ridge skier Travis Bird (108) moves down his run at Mont du Lac
Rock Ridge skier Travis Bird (108) moves down his run at Mont du Lac Resort in Superior on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Hermantown’s Toby Schunk (102) runs over a gate during his run at Mont du Lac
Hermantown’s Toby Schunk (102) runs over a gate during his run at Mont du Lac Resort in Superior on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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